Mr Diego Cidrás1
1University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Galicia (NW Spain) is a region experiencing emerging social controversy around the expansion of Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum) plantations over coastal and lowland areas (expanding from 27,639 ha in 1973 to 287,983 ha in 2009). The economic value of this species has increased progressively since the installation of two high-capacity pulp mills in the region (1,000,000 tonnes year). This research explores the less-studied social and political behaviours of relevant stakeholders operating at different scales. Case studies are used to analyse how emerging anti-‘eucalyptiation’ sentiment (expressed in actions such as political motions, and forest restoration projects) is indistinctly articulated within both institutional and non-institutional frameworks. We observe that such anti-eucalyptisation actions do not reach beyond the local scale due to a perceived clash of value systems between local groups and institutions, and the regional government. We conclude that the non-interference principle towards these actions adopted by the regional government perpetuates the social discontent relating to the expansion of eucalyptus plantations, but also stimulates the development of innovative governance practices at the local scale.
Diego Cidrás (25) is a Galician PhD student in Geography at University of Santiago de Compostela. His research focuses on the social and political conflicts inherent in invasive species management. He is currently a visiting fellow at University of Western Australia (Jul-Oct 2019).