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Eucalyptus monoculture and common lands, Portugal

The largest monoculture plantation of eucalyptus in Europe: more than 800,000 hectares covering a quarter of Portugal’s forest area and 9% of the continent's territory


Portugal is the country with the largest area planted in eucalyptus in Europe and ranks 5th worldwide. This is the result of an active strategy to promote eucalyptus plantations, implemented through a combination of forest policies and market instruments. It gave rise to the largest monoculture plantation of eucalyptus in Europe: more than 800,000 hectares covering a quarter of Portugal’s forest area and 9% of the continent's territory.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Eucalyptus monoculture and common lands, Portugal
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Eucalyptus
Project Details and Actors
Project details

General context: Portugal has the largest uninterrupted and monospecific Eucalyptus area in Europe (+800,000 ha, ¼ of the Portuguese forest area and 9% of continental territory).

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project 170,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Unknown
Start of the conflict:11/01/1989
Company names or state enterprises:Portucel Soporcel Group from Portugal - one of the largest beneficiaries of state business grants and incentives due to its strategic interest for both Portugal's exportation and local eucalyptus economies.
Relevant government actors:Direção Geral da Floresta (DGF) State Forest Services
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Bank For Reconstruction And Development (IBRD) - invest money in afforestation.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Plataforma pela floresta (Platform for the forest)
Federação Nacional dos Baldios (National federation of common lands)
Quercus (National Association for Nature Conservation)
Campo Aberto
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Food insecurity (crop damage), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the intensification of eucalyptus monoculture is advancing throughout the years, it is possible to observe a consistent struggle for forest preservation and right to access the commons lands not only by farmers, but by civil society, environmental groups and other social movements as well.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Decree Law no. 68/93

Decree Law no. 96/2013

Decree Law no. 72/2014

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Baptista, Gualter, B. (2010). Bridging environmental conflicts with social metabolism. Forestry expansion and socioeconomic change. PhD Thesis. Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia. Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Lisboa.
[click to view]

Serra, R., Alavez-Vargas, M., Skulska, I., and Garcia Barrios, R. (2013). Academic-community collaborations: what kind of hybrid institutions for knowledge production and decisions on collective management?. 4th EMES Conference on Social Enterprise Research. Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra; National Autonomous University of Mexico. Coimbra.

COELHO, Ricardo S. Arborisae as vossas terras: um estudo sobre o valor das florestas portuguesas. Faculdade de Economia do Porto: Economia do Meio Ambiente, Portugal,
[click to view]

Tavares, Alexandre ; Monteiro, Mário; Alavez-Vargas, Mayrén; Pato, R.L; Serra, Rita (2014), "Land use change and forest routing in a rural context: The relevance of the community-based management and planning framework. ", Applied Geography, 52, 153–171.
[click to view]

NETO, Margarida S. Propriedade, usos comunitários e sustentabilidade das comunidades camponesas Olhares historiográficos. Cescontextos, n. 1, Mar. 2013, p. 134-143. Atas do I Encontro Internacional de História Ambiental Lusófona. CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, Mar. 2013
[click to view]

MELO, Cristina J. A questão fácil dos baldios: não lhes tocar. In: AMORIM, Inês; BARCA, Stefania (org.). Propriedade e usos comunitários e sustentabilidade das economias camponesas. Olhares historiográficos. Cescontextos, n. 1, Mar. 2013, p. 21-82. Atas do I Encontro Internacional de História Ambiental Lusófona. CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, Mar. 2013.
[click to view]

BAPTISTA, Gualter, B. Bridging environmental conflicts with social metabolism. Florestry expansion and socioeconomic change. Universidade de Lisboa: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Dissertação de Mestrado, Lisboa, Nov. 2010.
[click to view]

News Article. (2014). Salvador, João Miguel. Plataform for the Forest wants to revoke the "eucalyptus law". Visão Verde
[click to view]

Plataform for the Forest
[click to view]

Common Lands National Federation (BALADI)
[click to view]


News Article. CAMPO ABERTO. Aliança para acabar com as vagas recorrentes de fogos. Campo Aberto- Associação de Defesa do Ambiente. 20 jun. 2017.
[click to view]


News Article. GERALDES, Helena. Reforma das florestas aprovada em Conselho de Ministros. Wilder. 21 mar. 2017.
[click to view]


News Article. LUSA. Indústria papeleira considera discriminação do eucalipto inaceitável. RTP. 4 abr. 2016.
[click to view]

News Article. (2009). Correio da Manhã. Eucalipto ocupa 26% da floresta portuguesa. (Eucalyptus occupies 26% of the Portuguese forest). Correio da Manhã, Portugal
[click to view]

SERRA, R. (cord.) et al. SCRAM – Projeto: Crises, gestão de risco e novos arranjos sócio-ecológicos para florestas, Uma perspetiva dos estudos sobre Ciência e Tecnologia. CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, 2008.
[click to view]


News Article. EXPRESSO. Governo trava expansão da área de eucalipto. Expresso. 24 jan. 2016.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

We don't eat paper!
[click to view]

Águas, Penamacor protests
[click to view]

Eucalyptus, Vila de Castanheira de Pêra-Portugal
[click to view]

Paper industry campaign
[click to view]

Environmentalists against massive eucalyptus plantation in the Portuguese forest
[click to view]

Aprovação da lei dos Baldios leva agricultores a temer pela profissão
[click to view]

Vila Real, Comissão de Baldios dá exemplo na ocupação de beneficiários RSI
[click to view]

MAIS DE 5000 AGRICULTORES EM PROTESTO CONTRA NOVAS IMPOSIÇÕES FISCAIS E "ROUBO DOS BALDIOS", Jornalista: Salomé Pinto; Imagem: Jorge Coutinho, 3 abril 2014.
[click to view]

Nova lei e Manifestação de Protesto em Lisboa (2014)
[click to view]


PAeM – Vídeo sobre os eucaliptos em Portugal
[click to view]


PAeM – Vídeo sobre os baldios em Portugal
[click to view]

Environmental groups accuse the government of supporting the destruction of Portuguese forest with new law.
[click to view]


V Congreso Internacional de Agroecología y Agricultura Ecológica - Baldios em Portugal: desafios e potencialidades para as instituições e para as comunidades em tempos de crise. El lema de esta edición del Congreso es el de "Propuestas agroecológicas al industrialismo: recursos compartidos y respuestas colectivas". Dentro de las actividades del evento podremos conocer experiencias e investigaciones de interés a nivel gallego, estatal e internacional. Investigadora: Rita Serra (CES/UC), TV Universidade de Vigo.
[click to view]

Other comments:The main GPS coordinate is from center Portugal.
Valpaços 41.614082 , -7.376963
Aboboreira 41.224581, -8.058879
Mértola 37.657414, -7.663875
Common users' sttrugles related to this subject:
Parque Nacional Peneda Gerês 41.838844, -8.241559 and Lousã 40. 7, 21.18
Meta information
Contributor:Rita Serra, Stefania Barca and Teresa Meira
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1634
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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