***DSC_0074UPDATE: The international delegation from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees (CSGETREES) completed their journey in Chile to document the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the recent wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history.

Reports such as this from Biofuelwatch: Stop GE Trees Delegation Investigate Expansion of Wood-Derived Bioenergy in Chile are starting to be filed. Also posted was a radio interview with Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) and CSGETREES on Pacifica’s flagship station, KPFK, in Los Angeles: GE Trees and Plantations in Chile.

Expect new postings several times a week. GJEP is going to release a video soon of a MST militant who was ob the delegation from Brazil. She speaks about land use, tree plantations, political prisoners and much more.

Please stay tuned to the Chile Blog

Photo of Chilean flag in front of some of the fire devastation. Photo: Langelle

Chile: Water is Life

(Posted while in Chile on the delegation.)

MAPU [Chile]-An international delegation from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees arrived in Sanitago, Chile on 20 March 2017 to document the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the recent wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history.

The delegation also traveled to Mapu, the ancestral lands of the Indigenous Mapuche (People of the Earth) to investigate the depletion of water caused by the timber plantations and how this loss of water is impacting Mapuche sovereignty and the ability of the people to stay on the lands they have occupied for thousands of years. Only 13% of Mapuche people still live in the countryside, largely due to the loss of water on their lands.  The delegation also examined the impacts on other communities’ water rights, climatic disruption, repression, as well as gender issues and effects on women. Please view the ongoing fact-finding trip on the Chile Blog.

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(Rio Cautín near Temuco, Chile) Before an early morning water ceremony, Alfredo Seguel from Red de Defensa de los Territorios, an Indigenous Mapuche organization, speaks about the significance of this river to the Mapuche and the importance of water to all life.  Photo: Orin Langelle

From Santiago, the delegation traveled to Concepción where it visited communities devastated by massive wildfires.  It also traveled into the countryside to see the impacts on the people and the ecological damage caused by industrial monoculture pine and eucalyptus plantations. Members of the delegation visited several universities and were involved in presentations and community discussions. The delegation was sponsored by OLCA (Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales).

Due to the water required to grow pines and eucalyptus in the plantations, the communities' water supply is scarce. Photo Orin Langelle

Due to the water used by industrial monoculture plantations of pine and eucalyptus trees, there is a serious lack of water in rural communities, and some communities have no water at all.  Photo Orin Langelle

The community members that the delegation spoke to blamed the timber industry for starting the forest fires for insurance money. Many of the trees were heavily infested by insects and the fires provided insurance money to the industry for their lost trees.

All signs point to the potential in Chile for future plantations of genetically engineered trees, which would make these impacts much worse.

There will be a full report of the findings of the delegation’s investigation.


Additionally on 22 April there will be a gathering and march in Concepción called for by social movements with the theme Water is Life. This is prior to the International Union of Forest Research Organization’s (IUFRO) Tree Biotechnology Conference from 4-9 June in Concepción. Most of the scientific and industry people going to the IUFRO conference are pro-GE Trees.

For more information about the fact-finding trip to Chile with the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees on the Chile Blog.