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Media alert: wood-based bioenergy, impact on forests and forest dependent people

Seminar wood-based bio energy, impact on forests and forest dependent people

27 May, 2010

Forest campaigners, activists, Indigenous Peoples available for interviews in Brussels at the seminar wood-based bioenergy, impact on forests and forest dependent people (3 June)

Biographies of Brussels’ speakers below

Brussels — Members of social movements, Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations and civil society organizations are gathering in Brussels to warn the European Parliament about the disastrous consequences of an increased use of wood-based biomass on forest ecosystems and forest communities worldwide and to urge the EU to stop subsidizing industrial bio-energy production.

Wood is already the major source of renewable energy in Europe. Demand on the forest sector is likely to increase under European Union climate mitigation measures, which obliges member states to meet a target of 20% renewable energy in 2020. Most of this ‘renewable’ energy will come from wood.

With the current high levels of energy consumption in Europe and the US, pressure on forests will rise dramatically, leading to more forest degradation, land-grabbing and tree plantations. Local communities, Indigenous People and especially women will suffer disproportionately, as they depend on forests for their livelihoods. Far from mitigating climate change, industrial bioenergy will accelerate it by destroying and degrading ecosystems.

The Global Forest Coalition is providing a media support role for this delegation and for Indigenous Peoples and other representatives from the Global South to link media outlets in Brussels and internationally with the voices of representatives of communities impacted by and in resistance to climate change and false solutions to climate change.

Contact for interviews:
Janneke Romijn, Global Forest Coalition, 31 6,
More information and program:

Estebancio Castro Diaz–Kuna, from Kuna Yala, Panama
He is the Exetive Director of the International Alliance on Indigenous Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests and an Indigenous Rights and Bio-diversity Program Consultant for the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). He has worked on Indigenous Issues for more than 18 years. Estebancio has attended a wide range of UN meetings related to Indigenous issues. Currently Estebancio is one of IITC’s representative to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, and IITC’s principle representative to the Convention on Biological Diversity Working Groups on Article 8j and traditional knowledge as well as on Access and Benefit-Sharing.
Camila Moreno–Brasil
Camila is working with Global Justice Ecology Project, running the South American office from Porto Alegre, Brazil. Her research work is concerned with genetically engineered trees, agrofuels, agribusiness expansion, and the connections to social and ecological human rights.  She works in Brazil as a lawyer; researcher at Terra de Direitos, a Brazilian NGO working on land rights and is a member of the Political Ecology working group of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales).  She is a Doctoral Candidate at the Graduate Program in Social Sciences in Development, Agriculture and Society of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (CPDA/UFRRJ).
Area of Expertise/Specialties:
Agrofuels, peasant movements, agribusiness expansion in Brazil, biotechnology and GMO impacts on peasant and family farm agriculture, Amazon deforestation dynamics, territorial conflicts in the Amazon region, political ecology/emerging environmental social movements

Fiu Elisara Mata’ese– Samoan, Samoa
Fiu is Executive Director of the Ole Siosiomaga Society (OLSSI) in Samoa, an environmental NGO with a strong focus on Indigenous Peoples’ issues and Board Board Chair of the Global Forest Coalition. As an indigenous Samoan and a Pacific Islander, Fiu has lived in Samoa most of his life and has represented the Indigenous Peoples in many global conferences. He has also worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and for the Samoan government on environmental and Indigenous Peoples’ issues. He helped provide leadership for the Pacific delegation to the first ever Summit on climate change for Indigenous Peoples in 2009. Fiu also represented the Pacific Indigenous Peoples during the United Nations Climate Change meetings in Bonn, Bangkok, Barcelona and Copenhagen in 2009.

Anne Petermann–USA
Co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and co-founder of the STOP GE Trees Campaign. North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition. In 2000, Anne received the national Wild Nature award for environmental activist of the year.
Follow Anne on her blog during a EU Tour to inform European decision-makers and other NGOs that we cannot look to trees to replace fossil fuels:

Deepak Rughani–UK
Environmental campaigner and co-director of Biofuelwatch, UK.

Mary Lou Malig –Philippines
Trade campaigner with Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South.

Simone Lovera – Netherlands/Paraguay
Co-founder and Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition. Works in Paraguay
with Sobrevivencia/Friends of the Earth-Paraguay. Co-founder of the CBD Alliance.

Seminar: “Impact of wood-based bioenergy on forests, forest dependant people and the climate – A Southern perspective”

Thursday June 3 2010, 12.30 – 15.30
European Parliament – Brussels
(Venue: Wiertz 60, Room Room A5G-2, entrance Paul Henri Spaak)

We would like to invite you to a Seminar at the European Parliament about the impacts of the growing European demand for large-scale wood-based bioenergy on forests, forest-dependent people and the climate.
The meeting will be organised by the Global Forest Coalition, a network of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples organizations striving for rights-based forest policies, the Global Justice Ecology Project, Biofuelwatch, and Friends of the Earth International.
Representatives of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and civil society organisations will give presentations about the direct and indirect impacts of wood-based bioenergy for electricity and heat, as well as transport. The role of Genetically Engineered trees (GE trees) in bioenergy developments and their impacts will also be examined.
Bioenergy is expected to meet most of the EU’s 20% renewable energy target. Much of this will come from burning wood in dedicated power stations, co-firing with coal and domestic wood boilers. A growing proportion of the wood already does not come  from true residues but from trees cut down for this purpose. Companies are increasingly looking for imports to meet the new demand. The European paper industry has already pointed out that there will be need to significantly increase wood imports if a large part of European wood is destined for bio-energy, and Mc Kinsey has calculated there will be a gap of 200 -250 million cubic meters between European wood production and demand if the current bio-energy targets are maintained. This will significantly increase pressure upon forests and forest peoples in developing countries. It will also trigger the expansion of monoculture tree plantations, which are already causing significant social and ecological harm in many developing countries due to their negative impacts on biodiversity, water tables, and local communities. So far, most wood imports for bioenergy come from North America, where increased logging and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations have already caused significant social and environmental impacts. In the longer term, large-scale imports from the South are expected. Plans for the expansion of wood exports and monoculture tree plantationsfor bioenergy are already being developed in countries like West Papua, Guyana, Ghana and the Republic of Congo.
If agrofuels from wood become commercially viable, the demand for wood will rise even further. It will also lead to further promotion of genetically engineered trees: GE trees grow faster and could more easily be turned into ethanol for transport fuel. The social and environmental consequences of these GE trees have not been independently assessed, and the impacts on forest dependent communities and on forest biodiversity could be quite severe. The social and environmental consequences of these GE trees have not been independently assessed, and the impacts on forest dependent communities and on forest biodiversity could be quite severe.
The goal of this meeting is to inform European policymakers, NGOs and others of the direct and indirect social and ecological impacts of increasing European bioenergy demand and related policies on forests, forest-dependent peoples, and the climate. 


12.00  Welcome with coffee and tea

12.30  Opening by chair, Fiu Elisara Mata’ese, Director of Ole Siosiomaga Society (OLSSI), Samoa

12:35 Welcome by Mr. Bas Eickhout, Member of European Parliament, Dutch Greens, Netherlands

12.45  Industrial bio-energy production in Europe and its impact on forests and forest peoples, by Deepak Rughani, Biofuelwatch, UK

13.00 Impact of a significant increase in the consumption of wood products in Europe on Indigenous Peoples and their forests in Brazil, and the impacts of large-scale tree plantations, Camila Moreno, Friends of the Earth-Brazil

13.15 Response by Judith Sargentini, Member of Parliament, European Green Left, Netherlands
13.30 Open debate: can negative social, ecological and climatological impacts of the increasing European /bioenergy demand be avoided?

13.45 short break

14.00 Direct and indirect effects of industrial bio-energy on US forests and forest peoples and the threats of genetically engineered trees. Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, US

14.15 Impact of bio-energy production on Indigenous Peoples and alternative approaches for climate change mitigation by Estebancio Castro Diaz, International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forests, Panama

14.30 Trade in commodities like wood versus climate justice, Mary Lou Malig, Focus on the Global South, Philippines

14.40 Open debate: EU promotion of bioenergy and genetically engineered trees

15.10 Conclusions by Mr. Fiu Elisara Mata’ese, Ole Siosiomaga Society, Samoa and Ms Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition and Sobrevivencia/Friends of the Earth-Paraguay.

To register for the event, please send an email stating your name, address and date of birth to Yolanda Sikking at,

For more background information see

13 sept., 2010
Posted in Bosques y Cambio Climático