Fundraising appeal: Please support communities in Maranhao defending their lands from eucalyptus plantations


[This Fundraising Appeal is now closed.  Many thanks to all who have generously contributed!]

In the Brazilian state of Maranhão, communities, the livelihoods and land rights of traditional communities are under serious threat from large-scale eucalyptus plantations.  Those plantations are being expanded for pulp and paper, for charcoal production for pig iron and potentially to make wood pellets for Europe.  Maranhão’s Baixo Paranaiba region lies in the transition zone between the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savannah and supports high levels of biodiversity.  Communities have long been living in harmony with this ecosystem through harvesting fruits, practicing small-scale farming and cattle raising. They are trying to defend their land from being bulldozed and turned into plantations.  In some cases, communities have managed to stop land-grabs by standing in front of bulldozers.  However, successful projects that allow communities to diversify agricultural production and increase their incomes in a truly sustainable way are just as vital if they are to protect their lands and the region’s rich ecosystem.

Please help the communities with a donation which will go towards community projects that receive support from a local organization (Carajás Forum), an organization that is also actively involved in the support of the land struggle of these communities against Suzano.  All money collected by Biofuelwatch through this appeal will be sent to the Carajás Forum. The World Rainforest Movement will together with the Carajás Forum monitor the implementation of the projects.   A detailed report about the situation in the Baixo Paranaibo region can be downloaded here.

Here is the funding appeal from the Carajá Forum.

The communities of Joaninha and Santa Rosa dos Garretos are situated in different regions of the Urbano Santos municipality, in the Baixo Parnaiba region in the Brazilian state of Maranhão. The Joaninha community is located close to the road between Urbano Santos and the Barreirinhas municipality, in the Eastern coastal region of Maranhão. The Santa Rosa community is located more inside the country with influence of the Amazon rainforest. The Preto river goes through this municipality. These communities are struggling in a very unequal way against big companies and big landowners. Joaninha is facing the Margusa company, a eucalyptus planting company that is also producing pig iron, it has 7 thousand hectares in the Urbano Santos and Belágua municipalites. Santa Rosa dos Garretos is facing the Garreto family, a big land owner, and also Suzano, a pulp and paper company, that owns almost 30 thousand hectares in Urbano Santo. Since 2009, the Carajá Forum develops a number of projects together with the communities in this region that live from ´agro-extrativist´ activities (agriculture and collection of fruits and other products from the forest, like the bacuri fruit), as a way to guarantee its permanence on their lands and as a way to halt the expansion of eucalyptus monoculture over important biodiverse areas. The ´galinha caipira´ (a traditional chicken race), encourage the communities because they contribute to food security, diversify the production and increase the income of the peasants.