Clear Cutting of Liberia Wipes Out More Than Forests

Liberia Sells Out It’s Forests and Farmlands To Malasian Multinational Sime Darby

Liberian Clear cutting

Founded by freed American slaves in 1820, the Republic of Liberia is in the process of re-enslaving itself as huge tracts of forest and farm land are clear cut by multinationals for palm oil plantations.

SimeDarby’s takeover of Liberian forests and farmlands is a shining example of an emerging colonial system that makes the excesses of the 19th and 20th century look like warm up exercises. With backing from European financial institutions, the huge palm oil producer is sucking up the traditional farms and forests of the citizens via a 63 year government lease for 311,187 hactares of land.  In many cases, the land “deals” are made without consulting the citizens, who may find out that they are being evicted from their land when the bulldozers show up. The process is described as “development”, a word often used to mean someone powerful is going to make a lot of money by expropriating the assets of someone less powerful. It is often called progress.

With 6% of the planet’s total output of palm oil, SimeDarby is one of several multinationals colonizing farmlands in third world nations. Progress in the name of corporate palm oil production has generated a global land grab across the developing world as forests are clear cut or burned down in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. In places such as Indonesia, half of the original forests have been razed in the past decade alone, on such a scale that it causes air pollution downwind in Singapore.Now emerging as the world’s most popular vegetable oil, palm oil is used as a biofuel and in large scale food manufacturing.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with palm oil, the process of wiping out rainforests and traditional farms in favor of large scale monoculture is one more major step toward total global unsustainability.

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