132 Amazon protected areas have been offered for adoption, with three transnational companies signing on so far (French Carrefour, Dutch Heineken, and U.S. Coca Cola). Activists say traditional peoples are not being consulted.
Articles by Sue Branford and Maurício Torres
In recent days, U.S. and Brazilian negotiators engaged behind closed doors to clinch an Amazon protection deal. So far, they’re stalemated, with Brazil asking for money and the U.S. seeking proof of real commitment.
315 traditional families in the Brazilian Amazon, evicted from their homes starting in 2015 to make way for the Belo Monte mega-dam, have won the right to resettle near their former Xingu River homes.
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.
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.
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Land rights and extractives
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- Vale told Brazil communities they were in danger. They say Vale wants their land
- With their land on the line, Indigenous Brazilians gather for landmark ruling
- The Kichwa woman fighting drug traffickers and loggers in the Peruvian Amazon
- Rights groups demand end to Cambodia’s persecution of green activists
- With Indigenous rights at stake in Brasília, a territory is attacked in Paraty
- Brazil’s Bolsonaro vowed to work with Indigenous people. Now he’s investigating them
Indonesia's Forest Guardians
- From Flores to Papua: Meet 10 of Indonesia’s mangrove guardians
- Why I stand for my tribe’s forest: It gives us food, culture, and life (commentary)
- Reforesting a village in Indonesia, one batch of gourmet beans at a time
- Restoring Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, one small farm at a time
- Is planting trees as good for the Earth as everyone says?
- ‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees
- A Malagasy community wins global recognition for saving its lake
- Scientists in Costa Rica are growing new corals to save reefs
Southeast Asian infrastructure
- Plantations and roads strip away Papua’s forests. They’re just getting started
- Indonesian farmers refuse to budge for train line through karst landscape
- UNESCO calls for closure of road running through World Heritage park in Papua
- Indonesia’s Gorontalo road runs into forest, swerves environmental checks