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Deforestation in the Amazon

The Amazon is the largest massif of tropical rainforests and these are home to more than half of the living species on land.


Paper industries like Aracruz Cellulose have been trying for several years to introduce genetically modified trees capable of resisting herbicides or with insecticidal properties to improve their yield.

Aracruz Celulose is the world's leading producer of bleached eucalyptus pulp. The region of Aracruz alone provides more than 20% of the world's cellulose production from eucalyptus trees.

In 2004, it produced 2.5 million tonnes of pulp ...

After uprooting millions of trees from the Amazonian primary forest, the Brazilian firm Aracruz Cellulose, specializing in discolored eucalyptus pulp, has greatly contributed to transforming the famous tropical forest of the Atlantic coast into a

“Green desert” of eucalyptus.

It is infamous for its social and environmental impacts in the states of Espirito Santo and Bahia.

To put it simply, the problem is that Aracruz is one of the most controversial pulp companies in the world.

Its Espírito Santo plantations are located on land belonging to the indigenous Tupinikim and Guarani peoples.

For years, local populations have been fighting against this company whose plantations have been established on their land.


It literally drowned the region under its eucalyptus monocultures and uprooted the indigenous populations. These plantations have dried up the rivers. The soils have become acidic by the thorns of cellulose pines which have acidified the land and acid rain has decimated all life both in terms of fauna and flora. The discharge of harmful products such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, copper and zinc into waterways has ended up decimating all aquatic life.

"How are we going to live? We can no longer eat capybaras (giant rodents), we can no longer eat birds, we can no longer eat honey, because the bees drink the water from the river. We can no longer hunt or fish ”. The indigenous peoples who have always lived on these lands are seeing their lands shrink at an impressive rate and their means of subsistence diminished at the risk of their survival.

As a result, many are forced to work for ... Aracruz Cellulose.

The workers of its plantations are treated in a terrible way, close to slavery. Some even die of it.

(see the report).

In January 2006, Aracruz was involved in a violent police action with the aim of evicting the inhabitants of two villages that the Tupinikim and the Guarani had rebuilt on land they had taken over. Supported among others by Amigo della Terra (Friends of the Earth Brazil), the protest had grown.


The impact on local communities and the environment was such that it led to a broad opposition movement, called Alert against the Green Desert Movement, which notably brought together Amerindian populations, Afro-Brazilian communities, small fishermen and farmers, the Landless Peasants Movement as well as environmental and social NGOs.

Lizzie SADIN

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