Pulp & paper

The global trade in pulp and paper is in a phase of rapid expansion. The industry requires massive inputs of ‘fibre’ much of which comes from huge plantations of fast growing timbers such as species of Eucalyptus and Acacia. Often these plantations are created by clearing natural forests or require the takeover of extensive areas of farmland and ‘wastelands’. Too often these lands and forests are in fact the customary lands and territories of indigenous peoples or essential to the livelihoods of the rural poor. Because plantations and pulp mills are highly capitalised industries (the cost of the average mill exceeds US$1 billion), communities with insecure or weakly recognised rights in land find it hard to resist them.