International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations
Today, September 21st, is the International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations. Launched in 2004, this international day commemorates people’s resistance and struggles in defense of territories and against the expansion of industrial tree monocultures. Here at Dogwood Alliance we proudly stand with the organizations and communities across the globe who work relentlessly to deliver the increasingly important message:
Plantations Are Not Forests.
To learn more about this International Day of Struggle visit the World Rainforest Movement website.
Unfortunately, the plantation struggle is real here in the Southern US, and Europe’s renewable energy policies are only making it worse.
Despite having some of the most important and diverse forests in the world, from 1950 to 2010, pine plantation acreage in the Southeastern US skyrocketed from 1.8 million acres to 40 million acres. During that same time period, 33 million acres of natural forest have been lost. The inconvenient truth: we’ve turned our natural forest habitats into monoculture tree farms for industrial uses while recording little changes to our “forested” land.
If a natural forest is replaced with a pine plantation, there is a severe loss of the critical natural services that we urgently need. Water purification, flood protection, pollinator habitat, the list goes on. Famed Harvard biologist, E.O. Wilson found that a pine plantation is 98% less biodiverse than a natural forest, and science shows us that pine plantations are much less equipped to sequester carbon and fight climate change.
Right now, the EU Commission is drafting a new Bioenergy Sustainability Policy for post-2020. The emerging biomass industry poses the greatest threat to increased monoculture plantation conversion in the Southern US. While alarms have been raised within the EU, well-funded industry forces are lobbying hard to make sure new regulations do nothing to limit the growth of their destructive industry.
A recent independent report commissioned by the European Union found that in the Southern US,
Bioenergy is expected to be the single largest source of new demand and that this will contribute to the expansion of pine plantations converting both agricultural land and natural forests. …over the next 45 years, this demand could contribute to a 2.8-11 million hectare (7-27 million acres) increase in plantations, with the loss of natural pine and hardwood forests being likely.
Today, on September 21st the International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, I say:
WAKE UP EU! Now is the time to protect our native forests and stop incentivizing their destruction.
An international coalition has already laid out a clear path forward for the new EU Bioenergy Policy. Solutions are clear. The time is now. Our message to the EU: Stand for our Southern forests and we’ll stand with you.