The Devastating Plantation Plans of the World Bank Forest Investment Program

By Simone Lovera

Sometimes you expect the worst, and you are not disappointed.

When the World Bank Forest Investment Program (FIP) was established 6 years ago, we were skeptic to say the least, as Global Forest Coalition. The World Bank had funded (and continues to fund) numerous projects with a devastating impact on forests and forest dependent peoples. Putting them in charge of what is until now the largest global fund to invest in projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) sounded like a classical case of inviting the wolves to herd the sheep.

Moreover, the FIP would not just give grants, but also loans, and as some of the most important values of forests cannot be reflected in monetary terms the big question was and remains how these loans would be paid back. Only commercially profitable activities are able to generate sufficient financial returns for countries so that they can pay back loans, but the experience with almost any commercially profitable activity in forests is that it leads, in the short or long term, to forest degradation and subsequent deforestation. In fact, as the definition of forests used by the World Bank includes monoculture tree plantations, a significant portion of WB funds are invested in such plantations, simply for the reason that they are far more commercially profitable than any other ‘forest’-related activity. Continue reading


Bioenergy and Forests

This editorial is part of Forest Cover issue nº47. If you want to read or download the rest of the articles please go to

By Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch, USA

Board member of the Global Forest Coalition

Forests continue to be caught in the climate crosshairs. On the one hand, REDD and forest offsets are promoted as ‘protecting carbon sinks’, with the potential to create profits for carbon market players. On the other hand, subsidies and targets for renewable energy continue to promote the cutting, burning, refining, converting to plantations, and genetic engineering of forests, under the false pretense of providing ‘solutions’ to climate change.

Many large ‘green’ organisations and others continue to call for ‘100% renewable energy’ as the primary centerpiece of their demands of policymakers. Yet in both Europe and the United States about 50% of this much-touted renewable energy production is from bioenergy. That includes burning trees (and increasingly, municipal waste) for electricity, and growing and refining industrial crops for liquid biofuels. The remaining 50% of renewable energy production is primarily from large hydroelectric dams. The contribution from wind and solar, while it is inevitably featured in imagery and hyped as ‘rapidly expanding’, is still minimal.

Burning wood for electricity, especially co-firing in coal plants, is one of the fastest growing forms of bioenergy. The UK is a case in point, importing more wood pellets than any other country. Last year 4.6 million metric tonnes of pellets were imported, which would have required 9.2 million metric tonnes of harvested wood to produce. To put this in perspective, the UK’s total annual domestic production of wood is 11 million metric tonnes, but little of that is used for bioenergy. Rather, the UK is almost entirely dependent on imports for this purpose.[1] Continue reading

Declaración pública en rechazo a reciente estudio de la CORMA sobre el aporte económico y social del sector forestal

El estudio “Actualización de evaluación del aporte económico y social del sector forestal en Chile y análisis de encadenamientos, año 2014” realizado por PROGEA1, Universidad de Chile, para la Corporación Chilena de la Madera (CORMA) ha sido publicado recientemente en el sitio web de esta última entidad gremial. A partir de este estudio, la CORMA ha proclamado que: “la pobreza bajó en comunas forestales, reflejando el impacto que ha tenido el sector forestal en el desarrollo a nivel local”.

Declaramos que se trata de una consultoría falaz y sesgada. El documento analiza la evolución de la pobreza en un período de 40 años, concluyendo que ésta bajó en comunas forestales. Es de público conocimiento que a nivel nacional la pobreza bajó a nivel nacional de 38.6% en 1990 a 14.4% en 2011 (CASEN 1990, 2011). Siguiendo la metodología del estudio, se podría concluir, por ejemplo, que bajó la pobreza en las comunas contaminadas y en las comunas afectadas por los terremotos, reflejando el impacto de la contaminación y terremotos en el desarrollo a nivel local. Continue reading

Protect Gariwong Mountain – Letter to the International Olympic Committee

the International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy, Case postale 356 1001 Lausanne
Switzerland. Phone +41 21 621 61 11
Dear Madam, Sir,
On behalf of Friends of the Earth International and the Global Forest Coalition we call on you to save the unique virgin forest at Mount Gariwang, which is currently threatened by destruction to make way for an Alpine Ski course at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. We know the International Olympic Committee has made a binding commitment to environmental responsibility in 1996, through an amendment of the Olympic Charter. Yet it is threatening to sacrifice a site of significant ecological and cultural significance for the 2018 Olympic games despite the fact that the Ski federation rules allow for the site to be spared. Continue reading

Appeal to India & to the UN on Forest Communities’ Biodiversity & Human Rights based Development

Contact-address of this appeal: , Friends of the Earth Finland

We appeal to India and to the UN governing bodies on human rights and biodiversity to ensure that the rights and protection of India’s vulnerable forest communities and biodiverse environment are not violated. We appeal to ensure that India allows no regress or removal of the legal safeguards set for these vulnerable communities’ rights or environment under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) or other laws of India – and that: Continue reading