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Carbon emissions double in the Amazon under Bolsonaro "mainly because of dismantling," says study

Deforestation jeopardizes Amazon’s capacity to act as a carbon sink

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

21 Sep 22

Carbon emissions double in the Amazon under Bolsonaro “mainly because of dismantling,” says study

A group of Brazilian researchers linked to INPE(National Institute for Space Research) has submitted a paper to the scientific journal Nature that claims carbon emissions doubled under Bolsonaro, specifically between 2019 and 2020, when compared to 2010 to 2018. The main reason for the emissions was human action driven by the dismantling of environmental enforcement and governance, says the study, which assessed the loss of the ability of the world’s largest tropical forest to act as a carbon sink and mitigate the effects of climate change.

According to the research, led by chemist Luciana Gatti, the effect was similar to the damage caused in 2010 and 2015/16 by El Niño, a climate phenomenon that makes the Amazon drier and more flammable. In 2019, the increase in emissions was of 89%. In 2020, 122%. More recent data show that deforestation records continued to be broken in 2021 and 2022, possibly worsening this scenario.


Four indigenous people are murdered in ten days

Em 10 dias, 4 indígenas foram assassinados

Crédito: Povo Pataxó/via Cimi

13 Sep 22

Four indigenous people are murdered in ten days

Indigenous people of the Guajajara and Pataxó peoples were victims of a series of attacks in the first week of September.

On September 3, in the state of Maranhão, two Guajajara indigenous people were killed and a teenager was wounded. According to Mongabay, Janildo Oliveira Guajajara was killed in an alleged ambush in the municipality of Amarante. On the same day, Jael Carlos Miranda Guajajara was run over in the neighboring municipality of Arame.

On September 4, in Bahia, gunmen shot at a group of Pataxó indigenous people who were trying to retake some areas in the Comexatibá Indigenous Land in the municipality of Prado. A teenager was killed in the attack and another was wounded, according to indigenous leaders.

A week later, a new attack against the Guajajara occurred in Maranhão, targeting Antônio Cafeteiro Silva Guajajara, who was shot to death also in the municipality of Arame.

According to indigenous leaders and socio-environmental activists, the attacks are related to conflicts over land and the pressure exerted by illegal loggers against indigenous territories.

Amazon forest fires reach new record in August and smoke invades Northern Brazil

Smoke covered the skies throughout the Amazon

Credit: INPE/via G1

5 Sep 22

Amazon forest fires reach new record in August and smoke invades Northern Brazil

The Amazon registered the worst number of fires for the month of August in the last 12 years, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). There were 33,116 fires, the highest number since 2010, when 45,018 fires were recorded. This is the 4th consecutive year of Bolsonaro’s admistration that the volume of fires in the period is above the 28,000 mark.

On Amazon Day, celebrated September 5, the smoke caused by the fires spread over the states of Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Mato Grosso and Pará, covering an extension of 5 million km², reported INPE.

From August 2021 to July 2022, 10,781 km² of forest were cut down, the largest area in the last 15 years for the period, according to data from the Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon). “The uncontrolled burning observed in the last four years is closely associated with an increase in deforestation and forest degradation in this period,” stated Mariana Napolitano, Science Manager at WWF-Brazil, heard by G1.


INCRA's Normative Ruling makes demarcation of quilombola territories unfeasible

Institutional attacks against Afro-Brazilian traditional communities are a mark of Bolsonaro’s administration

Crédito: Anderson Menezes/Amazônia Real/via CC BY 2.0

31 Aug 22

INCRA’s Normative Ruling makes demarcation of quilombola territories unfeasible

In the August 31st edition of Brazil’s Official Gazette, the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA, Brazil’s Land Agency) published Normative Ruling 128, which, in practice, makes the process of demarcation and titling of quilombola [Afro-Brazilian traditional communities] territories more difficult.

The National Coordination of the Articulation of Rural Black Quilombola Communities (CONAQ) denounces that the measure “makes it unfeasible to enforce” the quilombola constitutional right to their territories by bureaucratizing the expropriation of properties in ancestral territories.

For the organization, Normative Ruling 128 is one more among a serie of attacks by the Bolsonaro administration against the quilombola population: “While still a candidate, the then-president promised to withdraw rights from the quilombola populations and has been fulfilling his promise since the first days of his term.”

Smoke Signal launches the guide “Legal Amazon and the Future of Brazil”

Publication points out what is at stake in the region a month before Brazil’s elections

Credit: Smoke Signal

30 Aug 22

Smoke Signal launches the guide “Legal Amazon and the Future of Brazil”

With a little over a month to the 2022 presidential elections in Brazil, the monitoring initiative Smoke Signal launches “The Amazon and the Future of Brazil: a guide – An examination of the region’s nine states between 2018 and 2022”, an independent production started from a survey of the main events of the socioenvironmental agenda in the four years of Bolsonaro’s administration in all states that make up the region known as “Legal Amazon” in Brazil.

The material was written based on an active listening process carried out between May and July 2022 with the collection of 19 testimonials from people working in the territories covered by the guide. Communicators, researchers, indigenous and community leaders, and activists were heard. The interviews directed the research and, combined with the best available data, resulted in a qualified and thorough report on the region that occupies almost 60% of the national territory. 

The Guide presents an overview of what the Brazilian Legal Amazon is, contextualizing the reader with geographic and socioenvironmental information and the main political and economic drivers of forest destruction and violence. It brings a selection of data produced by relevant scientific institutes and civil society organizations from the region, and a survey of emblematic cases, violent deaths and indicators of the growing threats faced by native peoples in these areas.

The publication also details the movements of the National Congress in this scenario of dispute over land and environmental resources, highlighting four bills in progress in the federal houses and the behavior of state governments and their parliamentary caucuses regarding the so-called Destruction Package, a series of legislative proposals that profoundly change the use and management of land in the country. Moreover, the guide organizes timelines with the main events monitored by Smoke Signal over the past four years, mapping the main fake news and disinformation campaigns related to weakening environmental protections promoted in each of the states. Finally, it highlights critical areas and high-impact projects for the populations and biodiversity that will likely continue to be the subject of political bargaining after the elections. 

Businessman gives money to Bolsonaro's allies while lobbying for mining on indigenous lands

Belmonte and Bolsonaro together

Credit: Reproduction

28 Aug 22

Businessman gives money to Bolsonaro’s allies while lobbying for mining on indigenous lands

The businessman Luis Felipe Belmonte, an ally of Jair Bolsonaro, gave money to people in the president’s close circle while lobbying for the approval of laws that allow for mining on indigenous lands, according to messages intercepted by the Federal Police (PF). The information is from the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. The messages were obtained by the Federal Police as part of an operation aimed at investigating the financing of antidemocratic acts in April 2020.

More than 2 million reais were distributed by Belmonte between Jair Renan, Bolsonaro’s son (R$10,000), the lawyer Karina Kufa, that represents the president (R$634,000), and the marketers Sergio Lima and Walter Bifulco, responsible for his reelection campaign (R$1.5 million). In one of the messages, when asked by his wife, Representative Paula Belmonte, about the expenses, the businessman said that “the goal was to come closer to the palace and make the ‘indigenous project’ viable,” says the report.


FUNAI president offers support to member of the military arrested for "renting" indigenous land

Marcelo Xavier (left) has the support of president Bolsonaro

Credit: Reproduction

25 Aug 22

FUNAI president offers support to member of the military arrested for “renting” indigenous land

“You can rest assured,” said Marcelo Xavier, president of FUNAI, the Brazilian indigenous people agency, to Jussielson da Silva, who replied, “You are my support. Knowing you’re with me makes happy”. At the time, Silva was the head of FUNAI in Ribeirão da Cascalheira (MT). Today, the former Marine, sworn in during Bolsonaro’s government, is in jail for collecting bribes to illegally rent pastures in the Marãiwatséd indigenous reserve.

Silva, and two former police officers, are being investigated for embezzlement and criminal association. The Federal Police investigations found 70,000 head of cattle in 42 locations in the reserve. A Federal Police report forwarded to a Federal Court states that “it is possible to conclude that the president of the agency, Marcelo, is aware of what is going on and that it is possible that he is supporting the illegal activity under investigation (leasing on indigenous land)”.


Federal court orders FUNAI to remove invaders from the Ituna/Itatá Indigenous Territory

The Indigenous territory is considered one of the most deforested in the last ten years

Credit: Fábio Nascimento / Greenpeace

24 Aug 22

Federal court orders FUNAI to remove invaders from the Ituna/Itatá Indigenous Territory

A new ruling by the Federal Court ordered the National Indigenous Agency (FUNAI) to protect the Ituna-Itatá Indigenous Land (TI), maintaining the previous decision, but this time ordering the Union to remove the invaders and allocate a permanent team to the TI.

The area was under restriction of use since 2011, when Indigenous peoples in volunteer isolation were seen in the region, in the state of Pará. In 2021, however, FUNAI let the restriction expire. The decision keeps the Indigenous protected territory status for another three years. The territory is considered one of the most deforested in the last 10 years.

Indigenous leaders petition the Federal Justice to stop the expansion of mining in the Negro river (AM)

More than 77 active mining requests affect the Amazonian river

Credit: Ana Amélia Hamdan/ISA

22 Aug 22

Indigenous leaders petition the Federal Justice to stop the expansion of mining in the Negro river (AM)

Brazil’s National Mining Agency (ANM) has taken advantage of a legal loop hole that left the Negro river outside of the protection area of Indigenous Territories to allow mining requests in the region. The situation provoked Indigenous leaders to petition the Federal Justice to annul existing mining requests in July. They claim that they have not heard back from the court. 

The petition states that the mining requests stimulate the action of illegal miners in the territories and puts people from 21 ethnicities at risk. Among the threatened people are the Baré, Tukano, Baniwa, Piratapuya, Yanomami, Desano, Wanano, Hupda and Dâw.

“We filed the petition because the most affected will be ourselves, Indigenous peoples. It won’t be the government, it won’t be the corporations, it won’t be the urban populations: it will be us, who are inside the territory”, stated Marivelton Baré, from the Federation of Indigenous Organizations from Negro River (Foirn).

Explosion of illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous territory poisons fishes; Government ignores 21 requests for help

Consumption of fish, the basis of the diet in the region, is not recommended for pregnant women and children at the moment

Credit: Bruno Kelly/HAY

22 Aug 22

Explosion of illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous territory poisons fishes; Government ignores 21 requests for help

A study by researchers from Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), Evandro Chagas Institute and Universidade Federal de Roraima (UFRR), showed that fish from three out of four points in the Rio Branco Basin have higher levels of mercury than the limit designated as safe by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the researchers, the closer to the Yanomami Indigenous Land (TI), the greater the risks. “The high rates of contamination observed are probably due to the numerous illegal gold mines installed in the channels of the Mucajaí and Uraricoera rivers”, says the study.

A survey published in The Intercept Brasil shows that the Bolsonaro government ignored 21 requests for help from the Yanomami Hutukara Association. The documents denounced the arrival of miners, criminals and the spread of diseases and hunger in the region.

Mining in Yanomami territory soared during the Bolsonaro government. A report by the Yanomami Hutukara Association shows that illegal mining has tripled in the last three years.


Devastation in the Amazon: Smoke engulfs the region as deforestation breaks new record

The sky of Manaus covered in smoke from the fires in the Amazon region

Credit: Alberto César Araújo/Amazônia Real

21 Aug 22

Devastation in the Amazon: Smoke engulfs the region as deforestation breaks new record

Illegal fires in the south of Amazonas and southwest of Pará states have compromised the air quality of several cities in the region, where a toxic cloud of smoke has taken over the skies. Among the municipalities hit were Altamira and Novo Progresso in Pará, and the capital of Amazonas, Manaus. According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in August, 16,088 fires were registered in the Amazon.

The Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon (Imazon), which monitors the biome via the Deforestation Alert System (SAD), pointed to the record devastation recorded in the last 12 months. From August 2021 to July 2022, 10,781 km² of forest were cut down, an area equivalent to seven times the city of São Paulo. This is the largest deforested area in the last 15 years for the period.

For the Institute, the data is especially alarming, given the global climate scenario. “The increase in deforestation directly threatens the lives of traditional peoples and communities and the maintenance of biodiversity in the Amazon. In addition to contributing to greater carbon emissions in a period of climate crisis,” said Bianca Santos, a researcher at Imazon.

Invasions of indigenous lands increased by 180% under Bolsonaro, study finds

Invasion in the Piripkura Indigenous Land, where isolated indigenous people live

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

17 Aug 22

Invasions of indigenous lands increased by 180% under Bolsonaro, study finds

A new annual report by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) points to the increase in violence against indigenous people in Brazil, associated with the dismantling of inspection and assistance bodies for the native population. In 2021, there was a 180% increase in cases of invasion, illegal exploitation and damage to the patrimony of Indigenous Lands in the country compared to 2018, reported the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. There were 305 episodes, against 109 recorded in 2018.

Regarding cases of violence against the person, the number jumps to 355 in 2021, the highest since 2013, when the organization changed the methodology used for counting cases.

The publication “Violence Against the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – 2021” highlights how the advance of crimes against the indigenous population has a close relationship with the socio-environmental policies of the federal government. “FUNAI, the official indigenous agency, has become a regulatory agency for criminal businesses in demarcated or demarcated territories. land grabbing and the subdivision of Union lands – after all, indigenous lands are assets of the Union […]”, says an excerpt from the article by Lucia Helena Rangel, CIMI Anthropological Advisor, and Roberto Antonio Liebgott, missionary and Coordinator of CIMI’s Regional South, in the document.

Tool launched by Repórter Brasil shows Congress representatives voting on socio environmental matters

According to reserach, two in every three representatives vote against the environment

Credit: Repórter Brasil

16 Aug 22

Tool launched by Repórter Brasil shows Congress representatives voting on socio environmental matters

The investigative journalism agency Repórter Brasil launched the second edition of the tool that monitors how Congress representatives are positioned in relation to the environment agenda and rural workers. The “Ruralômetro 2022” shows that 68% of the representatives voted against the environment. 

That means that these are representatives who “presented bills and voted on legislative changes that harm environmental inspection, favor predatory economic activities, to make labor legislation precarious, to make access to social benefits difficult and to stop agrarian reform, among other setbacks pointed by socio-environmental organizations”, says the story that presents the project.

To measure the “rural fever” of parliamentarians, the tool gave each representative a score, ranging from 36⁰C to 42⁰C. The more aligned with the work of the ruralist caucus, the higher its temperature.

The evaluation was based on the analysis of 28 roll call votes and 485 bills presented in the current legislature.

51.1% of Brazil's gold mining area is in illegal areas

Devastation grew in indigenous lands and conservation units

Credit: Felipe Werneck/Ibama

9 Aug 22

51.1% of Brazil’s gold mining area is in illegal areas

A study conducted by the MapBiomas network indicates that in 2020, 51.1% of the area used for gold mining in Brazil was in illegal areas. According to the data from the monitoring initiative, there were 97.8 thousand hectares of gold mining area in Brazil in the analyzed period, of which 92.3 thousand hectares were “garimpo”, small gold digging sites that usually are illegal, and 5.5 thousand hectares were industrial mining. The map was superimposed on the mining processes (PMs) authorized in 2019, revealing the illegality of more than half of the “garimpo” areas.

In recent years, the country has suffered from the aggressive advance of mining activity in protected areas, especially Indigenous Lands. According to the report, between 2019 and 2020, 45% of this growth occurred in unauthorized territories.

The document also highlights the pressure of bills in protected areas. “The approval of PL 191/2020 can lead to a new gold rush inside Indigenous Lands and give amnesty to those who already carried out exploitation before the regulation of mining in these territories. The core of the discussion should be the development of control and enforcement measures between government agencies such as ANM, IBAMA, ICMBio, Federal Revenue Service and Federal Police in order to mitigate the socio-environmental damage of illegal exploitation in the country,” says the text.


Dom and Bruno’s case: three new suspects arrested

Operation led by the Federal Police targets illegal fishing in the Vale do Javari region

Credit: Federal Police/Reproduction

6 Aug 22

Dom and Bruno’s case: three new suspects arrested

Federal Police agents served seven preventive arrest warrants and ten search and seizure warrants in an operation in Vale do Javari [Javari Valley] (AM), region where the murder of indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips happened, in June. Three suspected of participating in the concealment of the victims’ bodies were arrested, all relatives of Amarildo Costa de Oliveira, who is under detention since July 9.

The targets of the Federal Police action, carried out in the Amazonian municipalities of Atalaia do Norte and Benjamin Constant, are suspected of being part of a gang dedicated to illegal fishing in Vale do Javari.

Deforestation rises 8% in the Amazon in July

The first semester had records in all months in 2002

Credit: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama

1 Aug 22

Deforestation rises 8% in the Amazon in July

Data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) indicates that the number of fires in the Amazon biome increased 8% in July, when compared to the same time frame from last year. A total of 5,373 fires were detected by satellite in the region. From January to July, the total was 12,906, an increase of 13% compared to the first seven months of 2021.



Operation "Guardians of the Biome" squad is attacked in the state of Pará

The Jamanxim National Forest

Credit: Pará Government/Courtesy

26 Jul 22

Operation “Guardians of the Biome” squad is attacked in the state of Pará

Agents of the Operation “Guardians of the Biome”, led by the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety, were attacked in the Jamanxim National Forest (Flona do Jamanxim), in the southwest of the state of Pará. The workers had their tent set on fire, but no one was injured.

The crime happened two days after two people were arrested for illegal deforestation inside the protected area.

The Operation was launched on June 21st to fight forest fires in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Pará, Piauí, Rondônia, Roraima, Rio Grande do Sul and Tocantins. The action will continue until January 2023, with an investment of R$ 77 million. The work involves 1.8 thousand agents of the National Force and more than 3 thousand workers from the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and from Ibama, in addition to firemen.


FUNAI president sued for slandering employees

Funai workers on strike in July asking for the removal of Xavier from office.

Credit: Murilo Pajolla

26 Jul 22

FUNAI president sued for slandering employees

The Federal Public Prosecution Office (MPF) has filed a complaint with the Federal Court against the president of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), Marcelo Augusto Xavier da Silva, for the crime of  slandering the FUNAI’s employees.

Xavier accused in a police investigation several employees of the agency, members of the Waimiri Atroari Association and legal entities of the crimes of influence peddling and perverting the course of justice. After the inquiry was closed, “the president of FUNAI, in revenge, represented himself criminally against the public prosecutor Igor Spíndola, responsible for the closure order. The representation, made to the Attorney General of the Republic, presented three conducts that do not characterize any crime, without evidence or indications of any irregularity,” stated the MPF.

The criminal action filed by the MPF calls for the double conviction of Xavier for the crime of slandering, with a prison sentence of two to eight years and a fine, reparation for the moral damage caused to the victims and to society, with the payment of compensation of R$ 100,000, in addition to the loss of public office.

From 2018 to 2021, firearm registrations increased 219% in the Legal Amazon region

Bolsonaro signing decree that loosens restrictions for gun ownership

Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

22 Jul 22

From 2018 to 2021, firearm registrations increased 219% in the Legal Amazon region

According to a survey by the Igarapé Institute, the violence in the 9 states that make up the Legal Amazon region is aggravated by the increase in the circulation of firearms in the territory. Between December 2018 and November 2021, the registrations increased 219%. For the organization, it is especially worrying the growth of records in the 12th Military Region, which covers the states of Amazonas, Acre, Roraima and Rondônia. The growth reached 450% in the period.

The third edition of the bulletin “Descontrole no Alvo” indicates that the facilities created by the federal government in the policy of access to weapons contributed significantly to the increase in violence, especially in a territory marked by socio-environmental conflicts. “In the place where you have low state presence, where you have a very large conflictive environment, the firearm is a recipe for disaster”. stated Melina Risso, research director of the Institute.


In three years, Brasil lost an area equal to Denmark in native forests

In 2021, deforestation increased by 20% in relation to the previous year

Credit: MapBiomas

18 Jul 22

In three years, Brasil lost an area equal to Denmark in native forests

Between 2019 and 2021, Brazil lost 42 thousand km² of native vegetation, according to deforestation alerts detected in the country’s 6 biomes, MapBiomas initiative revealed.

In their new report, the group reports that the country lost 16.557 km2 (1.655.782 ha) of its native cover in 2021. There were 69.796 deforestation alerts detected, 98% with evidence of illegality. 

From the total alerts, 66,8% were in the Amazon (977 thousand ha deforested, 59% of the total deforested area for the period; 15,2% in the Caatinga biome (190 thousand ha, 7% of the total deforested area), 9,9% in the Cerrado biome (500 thousand ha, 30,2% the total deforested area). Combined, the three biomes had 96,2% of native vegetation loss in the country for the period.


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