The WWF and Tree Monoculture Plantations

The WWF and Tree Monoculture Plantations

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in addition to being the object of

harsh criticism for its membership in the Round Table on Responsible

Soy, is also under fire for giving its seal of approval to a United

Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) tree monoculture

plantation certification scheme, which the World Rainforest Movement

(WRM) considers fraudulent.

The WWF currently directs and coordinates a “New Generation

Plantations Project” with the participation of tree plantation firms

such as Forestal Oriental, a subsidiary of Finland’s UPM/Kymmene

operating in Uruguay; Portucel, which has operations in Uruguay;

Smurfit Kappa Cartón, an Irish-Dutch company operating in Colombia;

and the Swedish-Finnish Stora-Enso, whose operations in Brazil and

Uruguay are the object of controversy.

“Around the world, millions of hectares of productive land are quickly

being converted to green deserts disguised as ‘forests’”, declared the

Latin American Network Against Tree Monocultures in August 2009.

“Local communities are displaced in order to make room for unending

rows of identical trees – eucalyptus, pine, oil palm, rubber trees,

jatropha (physic nut), and other species – which replace nearly all

other forms of life in the zone. Cultivable land, crucial for the food

sovereignty of local communities, is converted into monoculture tree

plantations producing raw materials for export. Water resources are

contaminated and exhausted by the plantations, while the earth is


“What WWF is actually doing is to promote the expansion of tree

monocultures and helping to greenwash the long – and well documented –

history of past and present destructive activities of the companies

and organizations involved in this project,” denounces the WRM. “At

the same time, it is assisting the beleaguered FAO by continuing to

define tree plantations as “planted forests”, thereby weakening the

growing civil society demand for changing a definition that has so

much served plantation companies for obscuring the true and negative

nature of these monocultures.”


World Rainforest Movement, Bulletin 153, April 2010. “FAO and WWF:

birds of a feather promote ‘planted forest’ together”

Latin American Network Against Tree Monoculture, “Declaración de la

Red Latinoamericana contra los Monocultivos de Árboles”, August 1, 2009

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