Fiu Mata’ese Elisara to be the next Board Chair of Global Forest Coalition

7 April, 2010: The Global Forest Coalition is delighted to announce the appointment of Fiu Mata’ese Elisara as the next Chair of the Coalition’s Board.


Fiu is currently Executive Director of the Ole Siosiomaga Society (OLSSI) in Samoa, an environmental NGO with a strong focus on Indigenous Peoples’ issues. He will replace Marta Zogbi (Argentina) who will soon step down after five years as Board member. He will be responsible for overseeing the coalition’s global activities and its focus on rights-based forest policies in the global north and south.

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.

Commenting on his appointment, Fiu said “I am humbled by this global appointment and excited by the prospect of overseeing the immense work of the Global Forest Coalition (GFC) in the world. My work as Chair of the GFC Board will be made easier with the professional support of the GFC’s Coordination Group and committed staff around the globe and the impressive network of partners who will combine to provide an extraordinary opportunity to influence forest policies around the world. I consider forests as the lungs of Mother Earth and feel very honored as a Samoan and Pacific Islander to be appointed to this very important and privileged position. I look forward to contribute my energies toward realizing GFC’s important mission.”

Fiu will be the second indigenous member on GFC’s Board: Estebancio Castro Diaz from Panama, executive secretary of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, accepted his nomination to serve on GFC’s Board in February.

Simone Lovera (Dutch, based in Paraguay), GFC’s managing coordinator, in announcing the appointments said ‘Fiu’s and Estebancio’s skills and experience make them greatly suited to the task of overseeing the Global Forest Coalition at a time when forests and Indigenous Peoples survival are threatened by climate change and false solutions like market-based ‘reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD) and industrial bio-energy.’

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For more information, contact:

Janneke Romijn, Global Forest Coalition, at +31 6 82071382 or





The Global Forest Coalition is a worldwide network of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations from over 35 countries, working on rights-based forest policy.

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

The Role of Eucalyptus in Brazil comes under the Crosshairs of the International Anti-Transgenic Tree Network (June 2, 2023)

Impact of monoculture in territories was the subject of visits led by FASE in Espírito Santo


Note: FASE were co-organizers of the tour to the communities of Espírito Santo.

The article (included below in full) is written by Claudio Nogueira (FASE Communications Coordinator) and originally appeared June 2nd, 2023, on FASE’s website. It is available in both Portugese and English through Google Translate.


The pulp industry writes a sad story in Brazil. Its role in land occupation with eucalyptus monoculture imprints a perverse logic that suffocates traditional communities and goes far beyond false ideas of reforestation and environmental concern. This was the scenario encountered by members of the campaign “Stop GM Trees” (No to Transgenic Trees) and the Alert Against Green Deserts Network, in a tour organized by the FASE Espírito Santo team, visiting locations in the north of Espírito Santo and the extreme south in Bahia, between the 24th and 29th of May.

In all, around 25 people, including popular educators, quilombola and landless leaders, environmentalists and foreign researchers from Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Ireland, Argentina and Chile were able to verify the impact of eucalyptus plantations on the way of life of family farmers and traditional communities in the region. For three days, the group got to know the experiences of agroecological practices in areas taken over by the Landless Workers Movement (MST) at the Egídio Brunetto Training School and at the Índio Galdino settlement, in addition to hearing reports of the difficulties faced by the quilombola communities of Volta Miúda and Angelim 2 with monoculture plantations. After the visits,

eucalyptus espirito santo

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

For Beto Loureiro, educator at FASE in Espírito Santo, the tour was important for the researchers to realize that the impacts are already terrible, and the transgenic trees are going to be one more aggression in the historical series that monoculture causes in the territories, “since the expulsion of traditional communities, passing through the depletion of water resources and the enormous amount of poisons that they apply now, even by air”. “They are spraying the monocultures by drone, and this poison is spreading, falling on the communities’ plantations, falling on their homes, on their schools. In short, a real chemical war, which takes place here in the green desert, ”he explains.

Transgenic trees, a new threat

Brazil was chosen to host the meeting due to the extension of activities in the paper industry and approval by the company Suzano, in 2021, for the planting of genetically modified eucalyptus trees to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate. This follows the previous approval, in 2015, of FuturaGene’s fast-growing transgenic eucalyptus tree, which was not planted commercially. The country is the only one in Latin America where field tests seem to be taking place today with genetically modified trees.

Genetic engineering directly changes the genetic makeup (DNA) of an organism, bypassing normal plant or animal reproduction to create new traits. Genetic engineering includes techniques that make changes to DNA by inserting genetic material from the same, similar or wholly unrelated organisms, or, with genome editing (also called gene editing), by introducing genetic material that acts as “editor” to change the DNA. Genetic engineering applied to trees is a technical challenge fraught with serious environmental and social risks.

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

Most research is focused on increasing the productivity of planted trees for various industrial purposes. These objectives include pulp, paper and wood production; as well as the use of trees as “bioenergy” crops – to produce biomass and liquid “cellulosic biofuel”. There is also some interest in genetically modifying trees to produce other industrial materials such as pharmaceuticals, using the trees as “biofactories”, as well as experiments to sell carbon credits and proposals to release these trees into the wild to “restor” endangered species. of extinction.

“It made us realize that it is another problem that we will have to deal with”, ponders Beto. “These transgenic eucalyptus trees grow very quickly. Therefore, they must also suck water very quickly, they are resistant to poisons. We can imagine that the burden of poisons in monocultures will increase, and that is what we expect from these researchers: that they return to their countries also understanding that non-transgenic eucalyptus is already a tragedy”, he concludes.

The foreign delegation continued its tour of Brazil with audiences at UnB and Esplanada dos Ministérios, in Brasília, and will continue to Mato Grosso do Sul, also to verify the role of eucalyptus plantations in the environmental imbalance in the state.