After months of investigations, activists have exposed an illegal logging operation underway in public lands in the Amazon. The illegal timber was discovered inside the Rural Settlement Corta Corda, 140km from the city of Santarem, Para State.
The Brazilian Government designated this area to poor, landless families in the late 90’s. However, the land has suffered invasions from loggers looking to exploit the forest. Although local social movements have worked through the Rural Workers Union to publically denounce the invasions several times, the destruction continues.
The Government’s reaction to the blatant disregard for the designated areas is shocking. Instead of taking action to enforce the protection of these lands and the people living on them, the Government’s proposal is to instead reduce the settlement from its original 52000 hectares to 11000 hectares. Local government has proposed to clear the way for the loggers instead of enforcing forest protection and removing the loggers.
We left banners reading “Crime” on illegal timber that had been abandoned in piles and marked for transport, as a notice to the loggers. We returned to the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Santarem just as a cargo ship next to us began receiving truckloads of timber.
The truth is we can’t be sure if the timber being loaded on this ship is legal.
According to official governmental data there are no authorisations for logging in this region. Imazon reports 65% (or 78.941ha) from the 120.512 hectares of forest explored in Para between 2009 and 2010 was not authorised by the Government.
Further investigations prove that timber exported from Santarem is currently traveling to the US, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, France and Japan. Unless the Government steps in and regulates the rampant illegal logging operations in this area, we can’t tell if the timber arriving in these countries is responsible for Amazon destruction or not.
In 2007, Greenpeace demanded an end to the illegal exploitation of timber on public land designated to the land reform. The local and federal government’s reaction to the widespread illegality destroying the Amazon is slow and inadequate. Greenpeace is calling for a Zero Deforestation Law in Brazil.
>> Take action: Join Brazil’s call for an end to Amazon destruction!