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Smurfit, Venezuela


In the State of Portuguesa in Venezuela the Irish company Smurfit Kapa has 27.000 hectares of land planted with Eucaliptus, Pinus and Gmelina. Smurfits operations had serious repercussions for poor local peasant communities with limited access to land. The company started out by deforesting the area to harvest timber, which altered the course of waterways and consequently led to the loss of local animals, fish and plants that had served as sources of food for the local population. After destroying the forests, the company began to plant fast-growing tree species eucalyptus, pine and Gmelina arborea which have a drastic impact on underground water reserves due to the large amounts of water they consume. Plantations are aimed at providing raw material for its pulp mill located in Yaracuy State (MOCARPEL). In recent times, due to communities struggles, the government decided to seize the lands in the hands of Smurfit on the grounds that the land should be used to produce food.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Smurfit, Venezuela
State or province:State of La Portuguesa
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific commodities:Cellulose

Project Details and Actors

Project details

hectres of land covered by plantations

Project area:27000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1998
Company names or state enterprises:Smurfit Kappa Group from Ireland
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Amigransa

Conflict & 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:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession


Project StatusUnknown
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:..

Sources & Materials

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

Smurfit Carton de Venezuela: las plantaciones de la discordia

Venezuela: Seizure of Smurfit tree plantations sets new course for the future

Descubriendo otra Venezuela. Informe de recorrida en rea de plantaciones.

Meta information

Contributor:teresa perez
Last update08/04/2014