The Kayapó Mekrãgnoti Indigenous people have launched a blockade of the BR-163 highway, a key Brazilian commodities shipment route, mostly in protest over lost funding to prevent reserve invasions.
Articles by Sue Branford and Maurício Torres
Brazil’s army helped control Amazon fires in September, but loggers, miners and land grabbers — likely emboldened by Bolsonaro’s rhetoric — are bringing a surge in deforestation.
Indigenous groups will be consulted but have no veto, says Brazilian mining minister as he announces opening indigenous reserves to mining in opposition to constitutional law.
Federal litigators warn of “imminent genocide” for the Karipuna people, while at least 14 indigenous reserves have been threatened or invaded. Bolsonaro government slow to act, say critics.
On his first day in office, Brazil’s new president shifted the demarcation responsibility for indigenous lands to the agriculture ministry, potentially putting the Amazon at risk, critics say.
As Grainrail, the BR-163 and BR-319 highways, and other transport projects improve Amazon access, they attract land thieves ready to kill.
Agribusiness desperately wants Grainrail built, but it poses a clear threat to 20 indigenous territories, and to the livelihoods of Amazonia’s truckers. A battle could be brewing.
President elect Jair Bolsonaro signals his government will be strongly pro-business, likely bringing major setbacks for the environment, indigenous groups and social movements in Brazil.
Brazil has plans for an expansive Amazon and Cerrado rail network, including two transcontinental Atlantic to Pacific lines, but development likely depends on China.
Brazil’s elections have brought an apparent surge of violence, with indigenous groups, quilombos and rural minorities fearful as the right’s rhetoric grows more hostile.
Soy farmers see Grainrail as salvation; traders ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Amaggi see it as profit; but the Amazon railway could harm habitat and indigenous communities.
Interviewed by Mongabay in 2016, Aluisio Sampaio is the most recent victim in a growing wave of Amazon violence against socio-environmental activists.
“We used to go into the forest to tap copaiba oil but we had no good way of selling it. The regatão [traveling river trader] paid us whatever he liked…
A surge in Amazon deforestation is trending this year, with a 22 percent rise from August 2017 to May 2018. Experts say land thieves and politics may be at the heart of the problem.
Gold mine owners have polluted a river in Brazil’s Tapajós basin and placed a price on the heads of resisting Munduruku leaders. A federal raid in May failed to stem the conflict.
Most oil palm production in Pará state has so far been on degraded lands, but researchers warn a coming Brazilian oil palm boom could result in large-scale Amazon deforestation.
Brazil’s bancada ruralista has attached a wave of riders to bills in Congress that could overthrow the nation’s environmental and indigenous protections. There is a high chance of passage.
In a win for the environment, the Supreme Court ruled against the use of executive orders to reduce conservation unit size. Also, Brazil conserved 1.2 million hectares last week.
Thirty-eight environmental and social groups are demanding an end to indigenous intimidation by a dam building consortium on the Teles Pires River that includes Chinese and Portuguese firms.
Most environmentalists expect more deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere due to last week’s high court ruling upholding the constitutionality of much of the 2012 New Forest Code.
Land rights of Quilombolas, former slave communities, protected by high court ruling that rejects ruralist-backed lawsuit. The settlements have a strong record of protecting forests.
In 2018, expect more Amazon assaults by the Temer administration, as indigenous and environmental resistance builds, with court rulings and October elections adding uncertainty.
President Temer, pressed by the ruralist lobby, attacked indigenous and traditional land rights, conserved lands, and Amazon forests this year, and retreated from Brazil's Paris climate goal – analysis.
Brazil is fast-tracking the Ferrogrão grain railway planned for the Tapajós Basin without prior environmental review, and despite protests from indigenous groups.
As COP23 negotiators meet in Bonn, indigenous and rural leaders warn that time is running out to protect global forests — a crucial hedge against perilous global warming.
Brazil’s Temer has forgiven 6o percent of $3.5 billion in fines for environmental crimes, so long as perpetrators pay other 40 percent. No new means of enforcement was announced.
The president has undermined Brazil’s slavery law, making it very difficult to prosecute the wealthy elites enslaving roughly 155,000 Brazilians, critics say.
An exceptional increase in Brazilian wildfires has alarmed scientists who say lack of government will, bad policies and forest degradation are adding to drought’s toll. Horrific Amazon mega-fires may be coming, as climate change escalates.
100 families, given legal title to their land by the Brazilian government, are being threatened by illegal miners. The Temer government has yet to respond.
Escaped slaves and their descendants have struggled to claim and hold community lands for centuries; now Quilombolas face a new existential threat in the Supreme Court.
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Land rights and extractives
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- Mining industry releases first standard to improve safety of waste storage
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- Life as an Amazon activist: ‘I don’t want to be the next Dorothy Stang’
- In Philippines’ Palawan, top cop linked to assault on environmental officer
- Deaths, arrests and protests as Philippines re-emerges from lockdown
Indonesias forest guardians
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- Reforesting a village in Indonesia, one batch of gourmet beans at a time
- Restoring Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, one small farm at a time
- Indigenous Iban community defends rainforests, but awaits lands rights recognition
- Failure in conservation projects: Everyone experiences it, few record it
- On a wing and a prayer? Evidence for ways to conserve bats (commentary)
- Audio: The sounds of a rare New Zealand bird reintroduced to its native habitat
- Eavesdrop on forest sounds to effectively monitor biodiversity, researchers say
Southeast asian infrastructure
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- Study revealing New Guinea’s plant life ‘first step’ toward protection
- Indonesian case highlights potential for long-term harms of corruption
- Indonesia approves coal road project through forest that hosts tigers, elephants