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Non-Native Eucalyptus Plantations, Not Forests, Caused the Disaster in Portugal

Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann spoke about the wildfires in Portugal that were caused by non-native eucalyptus plantations on the Sojourner Truth Radio Show for last week’s Earth Minute segment. Sojourner Truth airs every week on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles and streaming around the world.


Wildfires in Portugal continue to rage after killing more than 60 people in what the government called “the worst such disaster in recent history.”

These were not, however, fires in natural forests but fires in non-native eucalyptus plantations.  

Portugal’s disastrous fires bare striking similarity to fires that raged through Chile’s Bio Bio region in January, killing eleven.  These too were the result of widespread plantations of highly flammable eucalyptus trees.

In both countries, dry conditions contributed to the fires. Eucalyptus plantations are well-known for water depletion and worsening droughts.

Now the USDA wants to allow development of genetically engineered eucalyptus plantations across the drought-stricken Southeast U.S.

Let’s learn from the experiences of Chile and Portugal and not allow the carnage and destruction that accompany vast plantations of these ‘living firecrackers.’

Sign the petition to stop GE eucalyptus plantations in the US.  Visit stopgetrees.org/actionalert

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project