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Peticion for revocation of eucalyptus liberalization

Para: Presidentes dos conselhos de Portugal

This is a translation of the official portuguese peticion:

Dear Presidents of Portuguese Councils and all authorities concerned,

All people signing here are asking for the revocation of the Law-decree n°96/2013, from the 15th of July, that implemented a new tree planting regime, freeing the way for monoculture plantations. It cancels the need to ask for previous authorisation to forest authorities for planting, on lands up to 2 hectares. Which makes even more complex and more challenging the process of reforesting indigenous species such as the sobreiro, oaks, chestnut trees, and many others.

The revocation of this decree doesn't prohibit the planting of Eucalyptus, and doesn't solve all the problems of our forests, but it would force competent authorities to go back to the necessary task of analysing and approving the plantation of such trees.

Since the 1980s the areas burnt in Portugal are much higher that other European ones, bringing Portugal to the leadership in number of fires, with nearly 700 000, with the total burned area being more than 40% of all national territory (followed by Greece, Italy and Spain, all with around 12%)

Portugal is the number one country in the World with most territory occupied by Eucalyptus (nearly 10% of all its territory), which is around 30% of its forests. That is higher that in this tree's country of origin, Australia.

Facts show the time correlation between the beginning of the eucalyptus area and the beginning of the intensification of forest fires. An evidence, although none of the different governments have up to today given the necessary attention to the consequences of the mass planting of this specie, which are:

-Destruction of water resources caused by its “luxury consumption” of water leading to extreme erosions of soils with no knowledge of the time needed to recover the soil nutrients for plantation of different species.

-Destruction of the flora biodiversity. The excessive quantity of biomass produced does not permit any interaction with other types of plants or trees.

-Nearly total disappearance of fauna. Curiously not even the native Australian species which feed exclusively on the eucalyptus leaves, use the dominant specie of Portugal.

-Risk of fire ignition with tremendous propagation. The Australian fire fighters nicknamed the specie mainly used in Portugal (eucalyptus globulus) as “gasoline tree” regarding its combustion level.

For these reasons and others we are at the point of asking ourselves if we have to keep free-falling on the auto destruction path of our resources in exchange of a contribution of not even 2% of the GDP and a few employments by the pulp industry?

This is a translation of the official portuguese peticion:

If you have a portuguese ID number please sign the portuguese version adressed to the president of the parliament. This si an alternative for those who don't.

The more people sign the more the obligation of the government to give answers will be respected. It has collected up to today 18 146 signatures (23/06/2017) which has let it to be mentionned in many national media sources such as:

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