Foresting Over Family Farms

The Global Context for Green-Grabbing

From Planet 246

by Ambreena Manji

Ambreena Manji gives a bigger perspective on corporate afforestation of west Wales, discussing this in relation to neoliberal, neo-colonial processes of land-grabbing worldwide, and joint European-African peasant group campaigns against these practices. How can land be centred as a public good?

In recent months, news has been emerging of areas of land in west Wales being purchased by hedge funds in pursuit of ‘greening’. These global hedge funds have offices in places such as New York and Hong Kong and are very often founded and based in the city of London. Urged on by stated commitments to net-zero and to improving biodiversity, green investing has become a significant focus for corporations, banks, and private investors. In Wales, these investors are also capitalising on tree-planting grants from the Welsh Government. In the past, land grabs were usually associated with the Global South but ‘green-grabbing’ is now accelerating across Europe. The implications for Wales can be better understood by putting this phenomenon in the context of global land grabs, by contextualising them in the history of Wales as a colonial periphery, and by emphasising their importance to debates about national identity and Wales’ constitutional future.1

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About the author

Ambreena Manji is Professor of Land Law and Development at Cardiff Law School. Her book, The Struggle for Land and Justice in Kenya, was published in 2020.