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Smurfit, Venezuela


Description

In the State of Portuguesa in Venezuela the Irish company Smurfit Kapa has 27.000 hectares of land planted with Eucaliptus, Pinus and Gmelina. Smurfits operations had serious repercussions for poor local peasant communities with limited access to land. The company started out by deforesting the area to harvest timber, which altered the course of waterways and consequently led to the loss of local animals, fish and plants that had served as sources of food for the local population. After destroying the forests, the company began to plant fast-growing tree species eucalyptus, pine and Gmelina arborea which have a drastic impact on underground water reserves due to the large amounts of water they consume. Plantations are aimed at providing raw material for its pulp mill located in Yaracuy State (MOCARPEL). In recent times, due to communities struggles, the government decided to seize the lands in the hands of Smurfit on the grounds that the land should be used to produce food.

Basic Data

NameSmurfit, Venezuela
CountryVenezuela
ProvinceState of La Portuguesa
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific CommoditiesCellulose
Electricity

Pine
Eucalyptus

Project Details and Actors

Project Detailshectres of land covered by plantations
Project Area (in hectares)27000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1998
Company Names or State EnterprisesSmurfit Kappa Group from Ireland
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAmigransa

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Pastoralists
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession

Outcome

Project StatusUnknown
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly...

Sources and Materials

References

Descubriendo otra Venezuela. Informe de recorrida en rea de plantaciones.
http://wrm.org.uy/paises/Venezuela/Gira2006.pdf

Smurfit Carton de Venezuela: las plantaciones de la discordia
http://www.wrm.org.uy/paises/Venezuela/discordia.html

Venezuela: Seizure of Smurfit tree plantations sets new course for the future
http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/141/Venezuela.html

Meta Information

Contributorteresa perez
Last update08/04/2014