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20 September 2011 | |

Many Trees, Few People

Social and environmental problems detected in Uruguay as a result of tree monoculture plantations

Download: MP3 (1 Mb)

The World Rainforest Movement (WRM) organized a tour in the Uruguayan departments Soriano and Colonia, which have been affected by tree monoculture plantations and the pulp industry. Tens of activists of fifteen countries of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas participated in the activities.

WRM is an international organization founded in 1986, which works on issues related to forests and plantations, and defends local community rights over forests and their territories. Its International Secretariat is based in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.

According to official figures, Uruguay has a million hectares of land planted with eucalyptus and pine tree monoculture plantations, mainly for the pulp industry. Companies like Swedish-Finish Stora Enso, Arauco from Chile, Weyerhaeuser (US) and UPM (Finland) own over half of that land. UPM also owns a pulp mill in Fray Bentos (Rio Negro department) and Montes del Plata (jointly owned by Arauco and Stora Enso) is building another pulp mill in Punta Pereira (Colonia).

After the international meeting held in Montevideo, WRM used the opportunity to organize a tour around the areas affected by forestation and pulp industry in Uruguay. The tour is part of the activities and events organized to mark the International Day Against Tree Monocultures, which will be held on Wednesday.

Real World Radio participated in the tour, which witnessed the shortage of water in the forested areas, the displacement of local farmers and the subsequent damage to the social make-up of the Uruguayan countryside, which has traditionally been the basis of the national economy.

We now listen to an interview with Noora Ojala, from Friends of the Earth Finland, who participated in the tour.

Photo: Real World Radio

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