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Eucapacific eucalyptus plantations, Ecuador


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

Name of conflict:Eucapacific eucalyptus plantations, Ecuador
State or province:Esmeraldas
Location of conflict:Muisne
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
Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Invasive species
Specific commodities:Eucalyptus

Project Details and Actors

Project details

30,000 hectares of plantations rotation of trees: 6 years annual export of chips for pulp: 260,000 metric tons

Project area:30000
Level of Investment:48000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:5000
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:Eucapacific 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 actors:Ministry of Environment, National Congress "Special Commisssion for Health, Environment and Ecology"
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Accion Ecologica, Fundecol Fundación de Defensa Ecológica, Catholic church, Rights Defense Committee, WRM, Latin American Network Against Plantations

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation 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


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-economical 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


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
New legislation
Lawsuits are in the process of been decided
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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 to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Monoculture tree plantations in Ecuador (Also available in Spanish) By Patricia Granda. August 2006

Las mentiras de la Eucapacific

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

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Accion Ecologica: article on Eucapacific.

Meta information

Contributor:Teresa Perez, Winnie Overbeek & Lucie Greyl
Last update03/05/2014