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Eucapacific eucalyptus plantations, Ecuador


Description

Eucapacific is a company formed by two Japanese corporations (Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Corporation) and a Chilean-Ecuadorian company named Expoforestal. Operating in Ecuador since the year 2000, it has plans to establish 30,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations in the Esmeraldas Province, aimed at providing timber to feed a Japanese pulp mill and to act as carbon sinks -while trees grow- to compensate the emissions of the Japanese Electric Power Development company.

Eucapacific has caused deforestation and has set plantations around two national parks of high biological diversity. Various water courses located in the Eucapacific plantations flow into the mangroves and the reproduction and survival of endemic species to the mangrove system are affected due to pollution.

Installed through an aggressive process of buying up land, initially from the owners of medium-sized plots of between 500 and 2000 hectares and later from smaller property owners. They are offered good prices for their lands and promised employment. There have been frequent cases in which the peasants have been obliged to accept ridiculously low prices for their lands simply by preventing them from having access to their properties by the purchase of adjacent land.

Work promised to the local population is notoriously absent. Working conditions are terrible.

Basic Data

NameEucapacific eucalyptus plantations, Ecuador
CountryEcuador
ProvinceEsmeraldas
SiteMuisne
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local 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
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Invasive species
Specific CommoditiesWater
Land
Eucalyptus

Project Details and Actors

Project Details30,000 hectares of plantations rotation of trees: 6 years annual export of chips for pulp: 260,000 metric tons
Project Area (in hectares)30000
Level of Investment (in USD)48000000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population5000
Start Date2000
Company Names or State EnterprisesEucapacific from Ecuador
Mitsubishi Paper Mills from Japan
Sumitomo Corporation from Japan
Electric Power Development from Ecuador
Expoforestal from Chile
Environmental Engineering Service from Japan
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Environment, National Congress "Special Commisssion for Health, Environment and Ecology"
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAccion Ecologica, Fundecol Fundación de Defensa Ecológica, Catholic church, Rights Defense Committee, WRM, Latin American Network Against Plantations

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Soil erosion
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
New legislation
Lawsuits are in the process of been decided
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Although local communities and Environmental Associations have fought to stop these plantations through protests and legal actions, these continue, in spite of the irregularities already pointed out to the authorities.

Sources and Materials

Legislations

Local ordinance: Régimen Especial de Protección de la Biodiversidad de la Cuenca del Canton de Muisne en los Ecosistemas de Manglar y Bosques Humedo Tropical

References

Las mentiras de la Eucapacific
http://www.wrm.org.uy/Videos_Esp/Eucapacific.html

Monoculture tree plantations in Ecuador (Also available in Spanish) By Patricia Granda. August 2006
http://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Ecuador/book2.pdf

Identidad y conflicto. La lucha por la tierra en la zona norte de la provincia de Esmeraldas. Minda, Pablo Anibal. Abya-yala. 2002

Plantations, Resistance and the Greening of the Agrarian Question in Coastal Ecuador, Julien-François Gerber & Sandra Veuthey
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0366.2010.00265.x/full

Links

Accion Ecologica: article on Eucapacific.
http://www.accionecologica.org/bosques-y-plantaciones/monocultivos/informes/66-proyecto-forestal-eucapacific

Meta Information

ContributorTeresa Perez, Winnie Overbeek & Lucie Greyl
Last update03/05/2014