Bioeconomy: Voices From the World
Turning forests into fuel for the new ‘bio-economy?’
What Really Happens When Forests are Commodified –
Voices From Around The World
A Video Repository
Forests, their biodiversity, and their inhabitants are under attack as never before. In addition to existing problems with respect to the commodification forests, such as illegal logging and the clearing of forests to grow food crops for export, a variety of new policies threaten to escalate this situation dramatically.
Increasing demand for biofuels is already leading to escalating pressure for land to grow crops, including quick-growing tree plantations. In addition, the development of a new industrial strategy in numerous countries — known as the ‘bio-economy’ — will exacerbate this situation dramatically. This approach focuses on replacing fossil fuels with biomass, both as an energy source and to provide the raw materials for a new phase of industrialisation. It could also facilitate the release of genetically engineered trees with dire consequences for forests.
In addition, governments’ ‘green economy’ approach to resolving deforestation and other environmental problems is also exacerbating the commodification of forests, because it is based on the use of uncertain and complex market mechanisms, with a view to drawing private investment in, seemingly without regard for the consequences.
A key policy that impacts on forests is REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation — which is explicitly premised on increasing the value of standing trees. But as the value goes up, so does competition for those forests, leading to more and more land being grabbed from people living in or dependent upon them. Furthermore, since REDD policies mistakenly equate diverse and ancient forests with quick-growing and other wide barren monoculture plantations, REDD still permits the destruction of forests and their replacement with plantations.
The current corporate-friendly neo-liberal approach aims to find alternatives to fossil fuels and climate change mitigation, without addressing the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, including overconsumption. Companies in the Global North are being guaranteed a suitable policy environment in which they can continue to generate profit, even though this will be at the expense of peoples in the Global South, the very same people who have been custodians and have safeguarded these precious ecosystems for centuries.
The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) has compiled this video repository because collectively, these videos — made by numerous different organisations and communities — tell a powerful story about the way in which the same problems are being encountered and challenged across the continents. The commodification of forests is driving land grabbing, forest loss, the expansion of tree plantations, fraud, corruption, the violation of human rights and more…
From Brazil to Australia testimonies from different stakeholders show the very real cases of communities impacted by this dynamic. In addition, the videos show how the current approach to climate change is increasing the pressure on forests and forest peoples, and why the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s proposed ‘solutions’ to climate change are not real solutions.
The current repository is divided into 3 sections:
Note: The videos collected have been gathered through different online sources available, and have been produced and directed by a wide range of groups and communities. They do not necessarily express the views and opinions of GFC. Click here for a printable version of the video repository.