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Survey says that indigenous territories don’t concentrate fire hotspots, denying Bolsonaro’s claims

Report reaffirms indigenous peoples role in forest conservation

Credit: Marizilda Cruppe/Greenpeace

30 Mar 21

Survey says that indigenous territories don’t concentrate fire hotspots, denying Bolsonaro’s claims

A study by the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) indicates that, between January and December 2020, only 3% of deforestation and 8% of fire hotspots occurred on indigenous lands. The data denies, once again, the systematic attacks by Bolsonaro and government representatives against the native peoples and communities, who point them out as responsible for the destruction of the forest.

Topping the ranking of the most deforested land categories are undesignated public forests (32%), followed by private properties (24%), and settlements (22%). Together, the three categories concentrate 68% of the hotspots identified in the period, according to data from Inpe used in the survey.

The technical note analyzes the dynamics of deforestation and fire in indigenous lands (ITs) in the Amazon between 2016 and 2020 and denounces the increasing devastation of these territories by the advance of land grabbers and non-indigenous invaders. The text highlights the role of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) as a tool for land grabbing in Indigenous Lands: in four years, there was a 75% increase in the number of self-declaratory registrations of rural properties in these territories.

New president of the Brazilian Congress Environment Commission lies about the Amazon during first speech

Carla Zambelli, Bolsonaro’s ally, endorsed pro-gold digging government discourse

Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

30 Mar 21

New president of the Brazilian Congress Environment Commission lies about the Amazon during first speech

In her first live broadcast after assuming the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies Environment Committee, federal congressional representative Carla Zambelli (PSL) lied about the Amazon, attacked NGOs and defended gold digging on indigenous lands, according to a fact check carried out by Fakebook.eco. Zambelli also said that, until the inauguration, she did not know about illegal landgrabbing, one of the priority agendas of her commission. “I think I have little technical thinking, with little knowledge, so I’m still learning”, she said.

Among the untrue statements of the representative is the affirmation, as systematically propagated by the government, that the native peoples of the Amazon are the main responsible for the devastation of the forest.

Federal Court closes investigation against voluntary fire fighters in Alter do Chão

Activists were accused of starting fires in the region in 2019

Credit: Brigada de Incêndio de Alter do Chão/Reproduction

18 Feb 21

Federal Court closes investigation against voluntary fire fighters in Alter do Chão

At the request of the Federal Public Prosecution (MPF), a Federal Court closed the investigation about the causes of the fires that occurred in September 2019 in the district of Alter do Chão, in Santarém (Pará state), which led to the unjustified arrest of four voluntary firefighters who worked in the region. According to a note from the MPF, there was an “impossibility of determining the authorship of the crime”. “We found that the fire originated in three different locations and reached an area of 1.2 thousand hectares, but we discovered no basic evidence that could lead to the authorship of the crime,” the text says.

In November 2019, following an investigation that pointed to NGOs as responsible for starting the fire, the Pará Civil Police carried out the preventive arrest of the four members of the Alter do Chão Fire Brigade, in addition to carrying out a search warrant at the headquarters of the NGO Saúde & Alegria Project, an organization recognized worldwide for its work in the Amazon. Back then, the civil society received with astonishment and indignation the news and mobilized to prove the activists’ innocence. 

Fired by Bolsonaro, former space research director receives award for scientific responsibility

After his exoneration, Ricardo Galvão was nominated as one of the top 10 scientists in the world

Credit: SEESP/via

8 Feb 21

Fired by Bolsonaro, former space research director receives award for scientific responsibility

Ricardo Galvão, former director of Inpe (National Institute for Space Research), exonerated by Bolsonaro in 2019 after reacting to the president’s criticism of the institute’s data indicating increased deforestation, won the international award for Responsibility and Scientific Freedom 2021 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The award “honors scientists who have demonstrated scientific freedom and responsibility in particularly challenging circumstances, sometimes at risk to their professional or physical safety,” says the AAAS website. According to Jessica Wyndham, director of the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, the physicist “acted to protect the well-being of the Brazilian people and the immense natural wonder that is the Amazon rainforest, a world heritage site.”

Biden receives document asking for the suspension of commercial exchange between Brazil and USA

Biden received the document through an aide

Credit: via Gage Skidmore/ via CC BY-SA 2.0

3 Feb 21

Biden receives document asking for the suspension of commercial exchange between Brazil and USA

Scholars from universities in the US, international NGOs such as Greenpeace, and Brazilian organizations such as the Indigenous Peoples Network of Brazil (Apib) delivered a 31-page dossier calling for a thorough review of the US relationship with Brazil. The document points out Donald Trump’s role in “legitimizing Bolsonaro’s authoritarian tendencies” and asks for the restriction of the purchase of lumber, meat and soy, as a response to the high deforestation rates in the country.

The document also mentions minorities, indigenous peoples, democracy, police violence and calls for a revision of the text that allows the commercial exploitation of the Alcântara Space Base in Maranhão, which threatens quilombola [Afro-brazilian traditional communities] territories.

“Anyone in Brazil or elsewhere who thinks they can promote an ambitious relationship with the U.S. while ignoring important issues like climate change, democracy and human rights, clearly has not heard Joe Biden during the campaign,” said Juan Gonzalez, Biden’s advisor who brought the dossier to the core of the government, according to BBC News Brazil.

Former Environment Ministers ask european countries aid to mitigate health collapse on the Amazon

Former ministers demand protection of “forest guardians”

Credit: Marcio James/Amazônia Real

27 Jan 21

Former Environment Ministers ask european countries aid to mitigate health collapse on the Amazon

Nine former Environment Ministers sent, on 26th, a letter to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and to the prime ministers of Germany, Angela Merkel, and Norway, Erna Solber, asking for “solidarity and collaboration” for the “solution of the Amazonian problems”. Signed by Izabella Teixeira, Marina Silva, Carlos Minc, Edson Duarte, José Sarney Filho, José Goldemberg, Rubens Ricupero, Gustavo Krause and José Carlos Carvalho, the document addresses the high rates of deforestation and burning registered in the Amazon in 2020 – which aggravated the respiratory problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – in addition to mentioning the imminent collapse of the region’s health system, which had its peak with the lack of oxygen in hospitals in Manaus, capital of Amazonas.

By presenting the Amazon as “especially vulnerable to the pandemic due to isolation, poverty, precarious health structure, and difficult access”, the former ministers appealed for help to the local population through the donation of oxygen cylinders, stretchers, oximeters, medical oxygen production plants, among other equipment. “Knowing closely the reality of the Amazon, the signatories of this letter, former ministers of the environment of Brazil, know from experience that neither the federal government nor the local governments have all the indispensable means to help the most fragile and vulnerable populations of the region”, says the text.

Recently, the French president threatened to suspend the import of Brazilian soy. Germany and Norway, major donors to the Amazon Fund, announced that they will only resume investments if Brazil shows effective efforts to fight deforestation in the region.

The request for help from former ministers to European leaders happened on the eve of Hamilton Mourão’s declaration at the World Economic Forum, in which he criticized the low “international financial and technical cooperation” for the protection of the Amazon, according to a story by Jamil Chad for UOL. At the meeting, Mourão announced that Brazil has resumed negotiations with Germany and Norway to send resources to the country.

Ministry of the Environment budget for 2021 is the lowest in 21 years

A report says that this is part of project of environmental destruction by the government

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

22 Jan 21

Ministry of the Environment budget for 2021 is the lowest in 21 years

Following the trend of cuts and low budget execution, the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), spearheaded by Ricardo Salles, presented for 2021 the smallest budget proposition of the last twenty-one years, indicates the report “Passando a boiada”, produced by the Climate Observatory (OC). The Annual Budget Bill (Ploa), which the National Congress probably will approve in March, foresees R$ 1.72 billion reais for all MMA expenses – since 2000, the authorized amount has never been less than R$ 2.9 billion reais. Another fact draws attention: after a year of record deforestation and burning rates, the ministry starts the year with a 27.4% reduction in the budget for environmental inspection and forest fire fighting.

The proposal “crowns the Bolsonaro government’s environmental dismantling strategy,” analyzes the organization, reminding that the president fulfilled his promises made in 2019. “It is a destruction project that is being carried out,” says Suely Araújo, a senior public policy specialist at the Climate Observatory.

International Biodiversity summit happens without Brazil and criticizes commodities from deforested areas

50 countries participated in the summit

Credit: Reproduction/Twitter via One Planet Summit

14 Jan 21

International Biodiversity summit happens without Brazil and criticizes commodities from deforested areas

Led by France President Emmanuel Macron, the One Planet Summit brought together, on January 11th, heads of states, entrepreneurs and representatives of NGOs to expand a global alliance dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity – without the participation of Brazil. The organization claims an invitation had been sent but the Foreign Relations Ministry says that the country was not invited- neither to the event nor to join the alliance.

The devastation of the Amazon, a target of recurrent criticism from Macron, was debated and the group took the opportunity to reinforce their intention of closing the market for traders who are unable to secure deforestation-free products. By June, Europe will have “the first law to put an end to deforestation imports,” said Pascal Canfin, president of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, according to a story by Jamil Chade for UOL.

The day after the meeting, the French president pointed his finger at the imports of Brazilian soy. “To continue depending on Brazilian soy is to endorse the deforestation of the Amazon. We are consistent with our ecological ambitions, we are fighting to produce soy in Europe!”, he said in a Twitter post. In yet another public exchange of splinters, Jair Bolsonaro responded with disdain: “For God’s sake, “Mister” Macron, ‘don’t buy soy from Brazil because then you won’t deforest the Amazon, buy soy from France. France produces 20% of what the city of Sorriso produces here in Mato Grosso [state]. You keep talking nonsense there, oh, Mister Macron, you don’t even know your country and you’re trying to tell what we need to do here in Brazil,” declared the president in his weekly live broadcast via social networks, as reported by the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply stated that Macron’s declaration denotes “complete ignorance about the cultivation process of the product imported by the French”.

New NGO report links beef industry giants to illegal Amazon deforestation

A farm in São Félix do Xingu, Pará State, that participated in the “Day of The Fire” and supplies JBS and Marfrig

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

3 Dec 20

New NGO report links beef industry giants to illegal Amazon deforestation

A Global Witness survey shows that three Brazilian beef giants – JBS, Marfrig and Minerva – have their production chains marked by illegal deforestation in the Amazon. The study shows that between 2017 and 2019, in Pará State, the companies bought cattle from 379 farms that illegally deforested an area of 202 square kilometers, equivalent to 20,000 soccer fields. The trail of destruction is even greater when considering the over 4,000 suppliers of these farms, the “indirect suppliers” linked to the productive chains of the companies, responsible for an estimated total of 140,000 deforested soccer fields.

The report also questions the veracity of the audits carried out by international companies DNV-GL and Grant Thornton, which claimed “several times” that JBS, Marfrig and Minerva were fulfilling their social and environmental commitments. Also, major international banks such as Santander, Deutsche Bank and HSBC are cited in the document as accomplices to the deforestation, since they continue financing the companies.

The farmers are direct accomplices of the destruction of the Amazon, the slaughterhouses are failing to remove the deforestation from their productive chains of the cattle that they buy from these cattle ranchers, the auditors have restrictions to perform their audits, which means that the audits are not detecting the cases that we identified, The banks, on the other hand, are not asking enough questions of the meat factories and, at the same time, are not forced by their governments to make a strict control to remove deforestation from their investments,” summarized Chris Moye, senior Amazon researcher at Global Witness, in an interview for BBC Brazil

Amazon deforestation hits record high under Bolsonaro

Brazil lost 11.088 km² of Amazon Rainforest in eleven months

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

30 Nov 20

Amazon deforestation hits record high under Bolsonaro

The Bolsonaro administration broke the record for deforestation in the Amazon in the last 12 years, according to data from the National Institute of Space Research (INPE). From August 2019 to July 2020, 11,088 km² of forest were devastated, an increase of approximately 9.5% over the previous period. The State of Pará leads the devastation, being responsible for 46.8% of the deforestation. These are the first merged data that contemplate only the mandate of the current government, informed Folha de S. Paulo.

During the presentation of the new survey, which occurred without the presence of the Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, vice president Hamilton Mourão said that the increase was below expected, but reinforced that they should face the new data with concern.

The growing devastation in the Amazon happens despite the presence of the Armed Forces in the region – through the Guarantee of Law and Order (GLO). The measure is a bet by the government to respond to the problem. A group of foreign military personnel issued a warning about Brazil’s environmental and climate vulnerability and the country’s lack of structure to deal with the problem. As part of its annual report, the International Military Council on Climate and Security published a document asking the government to treat climate change and deforestation as a “security priority,” reinforcing that current environmental policy damages the country’s reputation. “Besides putting ecology and water supply at risk, the recent outbreak of deforestation and the counterproductive rhetoric of President Bolsonaro have damaged Brazil’s reputation abroad, undermining the country’s trade agreements.”

Smoke in Manaus reflects record forest fires in Amazonas and Para states

On early September, Amazonas State registered a rise in hotspots

Crédito: Bruno Kelly/Amazônia Real/CC by SA

9 Sep 20

Smoke in Manaus reflects record forest fires in Amazonas and Para states

An extensive cloud of smoke from fires all over the Amazon rainforest covered Manaus, Amazonas State capital, in the first week of September. The rates of forest fires in the region have been breaking historical records since July. According to a report by Amazônia Real, between September 1st and 8th the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) registered 2,002 hotspots in Amazonas, 170% more than in the same period in 2019, when the state had 742. The State of Pará had a more significant increase, with 3,468 outbreaks of burning, an increase of 253% when compared to the previous year (983 outbreaks). Inpe records and other institutions detected a concentration of fires in the municipalities of Novo Progresso, São Félix do Xingu and Altamira, in Pará, and Lábrea, Apuí and Boca do Acre, in Amazonas.

ICMBio agent dies while fighting forest fires in the Cerrado region

Goiás State had a 38,1% increase in fires this year

Credits: Facebook/Reproduction

2 Sep 20

ICMBio agent dies while fighting forest fires in the Cerrado region

Environmental analyst Welington Fernando Peres Silva, a public servant at the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), died of burn injuries suffered during a fire-fighting operation carried out in Emas National Park, in the cerrado region of Goiás State. He he was battling fires on August 21 when the wind changed direction and he got caught in the middle of the fire. Between August 1 and 31, the State of Goiás recorded 964 hotspots according to state government data, an increase of 38.1% compared to August 2019.

In 2020, fires have already ravaged 10% of Pantanal wetland area

Firefighters try to contain the flames in the Pantanal region

Credits: Mayke Toscano/Secom-MT

20 Aug 20

In 2020, fires have already ravaged 10% of Pantanal wetland area

Between January and August 2020, forest fires have ravaged over 17,500 square kilometers of Pantanal, which sums up to 10% of the total area of the region which encompasses the world’s largest tropical wetland area, and the world’s largest flooded grasslands. 

According to an article by Deutsche Welle, there was an 211% increase in hotspots when compared to the same period in the previous year. It was also the highest rate ever recorded since the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) started monitoring fires in Pantanal, in 1998.  Monitoring reports point to human action as responsible for starting 90% of the fires. Due to a severe dry season, the fire spreads easily when in contact with dry forests and grasslands.

In the first half of 2020, fires ravaged the Pantanal at unprecedented levels

Forest fires in Pantanal rose by 530% when compared to 2019

Credits: Mayke Toscano/Secom-MT/via Fotos Públicas

23 Jul 20

In the first half of 2020, fires ravaged the Pantanal at unprecedented levels

In 2020, between the months of January and June, the Pantanal biome recorded an increase of 530% in forest fires when compared to the same period in 2019. The data comes from an interactive tool from the NGO Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV) who monitors deforestation hotspots in Mato Grosso State over the yearly season when the State government prohibits fires in rural properties. The fires prohibition, usually issued around  July 15th, this year  came earlier, starting on July 1st and running until September 30th 2020.

The data, open for public consultation on the ICV website, also points out that even though the prohibition season started earlier, there was a 12% rise in fires hotspots in July when compared to the same month in the previous year.

A federal order issued by president Jair Bolsonaro and the minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles on July 16th, prohibited the use of fires in rural properties in the Pantanal and Amazonia regions. The measure was considered too late in its purposes to contain deforestation and contains a problematic article that allows burning “in areas outside of the Pantanal and Legal Amazon areas when essential to farming activities.”

Alter do Chão Amazon Forest fires: Bolsonaro vs. WWF and Dicaprio

Bolsonaro accuses environment defender without proof

Crédito: Antonio Cruz/Agência Brasil

30 Nov 19

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