About the EU “action plan on deforestation”


Photo credit: CGIAR

A bird’s eye view of the stark contrast between the forest and agricultural landscapes near Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. – Kate Evans/CIFOR

Can a deforestation driver become a forest protector?

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The European Union likes to think of itself as environmentally minded and socially benevolent.  Green and sustainable.  That’s quite a long way from the truth.  For while the EU takes a global lead on climate change, it remains probably the world’s largest driver of tropical deforestation and the commercialization, centralization and globalization of agricultural systems across the developing world.

Could that be about to change? And can it help save smallholders as well as forests?

Every year millions of tonnes of soy, beef, palm oil, sugar, cocoa and other major agricultural commodities grown on former rainforest lands arrive at European ports.  An EU study in 2013 concluded that it was responsible for 36 per cent of deforestation arising from agricultural commodities.

Moreover, much of this commodity trade is in some manner illegal, the crops grown on land converted thanks to forged or bogus permits, breaches in land laws that involve grabbing land from smallholders and forest communities.

Read the full article: CGIAR

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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