Day of Real Forests: A Photo Essay
Monoculture tree plantations like these eucalyptus farms pictured here from South Africa are a big threat to forests and a driver of deforestation. Unlike natural forests which are biodiverse and provide a habitat to a web of life of many species of plants and animals, these monoculture plantations support barely any life. These are typically large-scale intensively managed plantations with endless rows of only one species- mostly exotic fast-growing trees like pine or eucalyptus among others, destined for industrial production of commodities like paper or palm oil. They suck the groundwater up, leaving barely anything for animals and people living nearby.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization considers such plantations to be forests, on a par with real forests (as its definition of forest only considers tree cover and height rather than the other critical functions). But people around the world are demanding that the UN reconsider its definition and stop incentivising commercial plantations which have been expanding rapidly under the guise of “reforestation” and “forest restoration” at the cost of real forests.