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Eucalyptus Plantations Aracruz / Fibria Celulose, Brazil


Brazilian company Aracruz Celulose S.A, today Fibria Celulose, is the largest producer of bleached eucalyptus pulp in the world. The company owns more than 320,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations in Espirito Santo State and has destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of Atlantic rainforest. In the north of Espirito Santo, Aracruz seized 11,000 hectares of indigenous territory, driving 8,500 families out of their homes and restricting access to food and water.

The Atlantic rainforest in the region completely disappeared after 40 years of eucalyptus plantations. But indigenous movements of Guarani and Tupinikim peoples, together with Quilombola people (Afro-Brazilian communities) have been struggling for years to protect and to get back their territories. The recovery of their land, exhausted by the intensive eucalyptus production, is coupled with the revival of traditional food production.

Such struggles over the land provoke violent altercations and Fibra’s guards have murdered locals.

Moreover, since April 2015 the commercialization of genetically modified eucalyptus is authorized in Brazil. This approval has raised the movements’ opposition in Brazil and world-wide, pointing to the increasing environmental risks such as water shortages and the quality of honey from bees visiting genetically modified eucalyptus plantations.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Eucalyptus Plantations Aracruz / Fibria Celulose, Brazil
State or province:Espirito Santo
(municipality or city/town)Vitoria
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Cellulose

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

This project produces 2.4 million tons of bleached pulp annually out of which 97% is for export.

The company consumes about 250,000 cubic meters of water per day.

The plantations have taken over the coffee plantations territories, which previously provided 200,000 jobs, when the eucalyptus only can provide 4,800 jobs.

Project area:320000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1998
Company names or state enterprises:Lorentzen Group from Norway
Safra Group from Brazil
Votorantim Group from Brazil
Aracruz Celulose / Fibria Celulose from Brazil
FuturaGene from Brazil
Relevant government actors:IBAMA, Government of Brazil, Federal Public Ministry of Espirito Santo State, Rio de Janeiro Federal Court, MInistry of Justice, Brazilian federal government's National Economic and Social Development Bank, Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio)
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB)
Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) from Finland
Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Corporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alert Network against the Green Desert - Brazil, MST - Brazil, WRM, Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA) - Brazil, APOINME - Brazil, MMC - Brazil, RECOMA - Brazil, Movement of the Landless Rural Workers (MST), Federation of Organizations for Social and Educational Assistance (FASE), La Via Campesina, REBRIP - Brazil,

Terra e Direitos - Brazil

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Violent targeting of activists
Fostering a culture of peace
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:To have their land back and their territory restored from the contamination produced by the plantations. The recovery of the native rainforest is today impossible.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the strong present opposition and in spite of the recognition of the territory as indigenous and the return of some of the seized lands, the plantations continue, as do the explotation of the land and the contamination of the territory causing the environmental impacts recorded. Genetically modified crops represent a new threat to the environment, the traditional farmed crops and humans' health.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Convention ILO 169

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Certificando lo incertificable. Certificacion del FSC de plantaciones de arboles en Tailandia y Brasil. Movimiento por los bosques 2003.

Donde los arboles son desierto. FASE-ES & Carbon Trade Watch. 2003

Pulp mills. From monocultures to industrial pollution. Movimento por los bosques.

Plantations are not forests. Movimiento por los bosques 2003. Available/Disponible in English, Español & Portugues

Aracruz Celulose and the World Cup: propaganda and deforestation. Movimiento mundial por los bosques 2006.

Plantations campaign. Pulpwood plantations: a growing problem. Movimiento por los bosques 1999.

Manifiesto contra el desierto verde. Red Alerta contra el desierto verde. 2004.

Plantaciones de eucalipto y produccion de celulosa. Promesas de empleo y destruccin del trabajo. El caso Aracruz Celulose en Brasil. Movimiento por los bosques 2005.

Carta aberta ao Governo Federal. 8 de maro 2006: 2000 mulheres ocupam o viveiro da Aracruz Celulose.

Fabricas de celulosa. Del monocultivo a la contaminacion industrial. Movimiento por los bosques.

Tree plantations: Impacts and struggles. Movimiento por los bosques. 2011.

Article in Nature, Brazil considers transgenic trees, Genetically modified eucalyptus could be a global test case. Heidi Ledford. 27 August 2014

El modelo forestal-celulosico en cuestion: los impactos en el Cono Sur. Tribunal de los Pueblos. Viena 2006.

Where the Trees are a desert, stories from the ground, FASE-ES, Carbon Trade Watch & Transnational Institute, 2003

Report, 2002: Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights Violations in Eucalyptus Monoculture: Aracruz Cellulose and the State of Espírito Santo

PERMANENT PEOPLES TRIBUNAL: Hearing on Neo-liberal Politics and European Transnational Corporations In Latin America and the Caribbean, May 2006

Brasil: policia federal invade aldeas Tupiniquim y Guarani en tierras recobradas a las plantaciones de Aracruz Celulose. Movimiento por los bosques. 2006

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Instituto Humanitas Unisinos

World Rainforest Movement

Diga o governo brasileiro para rejeitar as árvores trasngénicos, The campaign to stop GE trees, 04/2015

The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, Sign On to Support the call by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject G.E. eucalyptus trees, April 2015

La Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad (CTNBio) de Brasil, aprobó el 9 de abril la liberación comercial de un eucalipto transgénico

Mujeres “Sin Tierra” destruyen eucaliptos transgénicos en Brasil, 07/03/2015

Brasil: Outrage over killing of local man by Fibria Celulose’s guards, WRT, 29/04/2010

Taking On Big Cellulose: Brazilian Indigenous Communities Reclaim Their Land, I. Kenfield

Indians fight for the land invaded by Aracruz Celulose, May 1996

Green Neocolonialism, Afro-Brazilian Rebellion In Brazil, 29/12/2014

La Via Campesina women occupy a farm in South Brazil, 08/03/2006

Brazil: Aracruz sows violence and destruction in Espirito Santo, World Rainforest Movement, 30/12/2010

Brazil: Highway is blocked against expansion of eucalyptus plantations, 04/03/2004

'Green desert' monoculture forests spreading in Africa and South America, I. Acosta, The Guardian, 26/09/2011

GIT Forestry Consulting's Blog

Other documents

Eucalyptus plantation owned by the Fibria Celulose S. A., Brazil

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update30/12/2015



Eucalyptus plantations owned by the Aracruz Celulose, Brazil

Eucalyptus plantation owned by the Fibria Celulose S. A., Brazil