Peasants, Plantations, and Pulp
The Politics of Eucalyptus in Thailand

by Larry Lohmann

first published 1 December 1999

In the 1990s, the pulp and paper industry expanded globally and took over marginal land, some of it forested, in Thailand for commercial plantations of the fast-growing Australian eucalyptus tree. Farmers and villagers using that land but without formal title to it had to move out and clear new land in the few areas of unoccupied forest remaining, or stay and refuse to be cleared away.

This 14-page article, published in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (Volume 23, Number 4, October–December 1991) explores the conflicts that the plantations triggered, the various ways in which peasants resisted their invasion and what happened to those who had to migrate.

It analyses the various drivers of the eucalyptus boom as the global surge in paper consumption intersected with Thai land, forest and development policy with international backing.