The investigation revealed that the Brazilian Government's
Agency for Land Reform (INCRA) in Santarém, Pará State, is setting
aside large 'land settlements' in rainforest areas of great value
to the timber industry, instead of placing these settlements in
Land distribution for poor communities is one of the key social
programs of Lula's government. Once set up, the Santarém agents
encourage links between the logging companies and unregulated 'land
settlers associations', which facilitates the gross exploitation of
the newly-formed 'settlement'. In 2006, INCRA created 97 such land
settlements for 33,700 families in the Santarém region of Para
State, covering an area of 2.2 million hectares.
However, evidence uncovered by Greenpeace shows that many of
these were set up in areas of high timber value and, in one case,
inside the fully protected area of Amazonia National Park (2).
Minutes of meetings and contracts seen by Greenpeace show that
INCRA then creates partnerships with logging companies to construct
infrastructure such as roads and schools, creating a development
cycle which encourages uncontrolled logging (and further
deforestation), from which the logging companies benefit.
The investigation also showed that many of the 'land settlers
associations' were not composed of local people, but 'settlers'
with no background of sustainable use of the natural resources,
often registered in cities and communities far away from the
settlements they are appointed to.
"While the Brazilian environmental authorities celebrated a
third consecutive annual drop in Amazon deforestation a few days
ago, other sectors of the government, instead of helping the
official efforts are putting in place mechanisms to ensure the
supply of timber to loggers.
This opens the door to further forest destruction and climate
change, while losing the opportunity to responsibly manage these
areas and provide real solutions to the communities", said André
Muggiati, Amazon Campaigner. Brazil is the world's 4th largest
emitter of greenhouse gases, mainly due to forest burning as part
of the deforestation and land clearing process in the Amazon.
"There is no time left to lose in stopping Amazon destruction.
Brazilian Government efforts to reduce deforestation need to be
embraced by every branch of the state. INCRA must ensure land
reform settlements are only created in already deforested areas or
where real sustainable management by local communities can take
The logging industry operating in the Amazon must commit to live
up to responsible and certified production, to help put an end to
Amazon deforestation in the near future", Muggiati concluded.
Other contacts: Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace Internatinal Forests Campaigner, in Manaus, Phone +55 92 40 09 80 00 Mobile +55 92 99 95 20 70
Notes: (1) On August 10th, the Brazilian Federal government announced that the deforestation rate in the Amazon rainforest for the period August 2006-August 2007 had dropped to an estimated 9,600 square kilometers, the lowest rate since INPE (National Institute for Space Research) started to monitor deforestation in the region in 1988. (2) Amazon National Park is located on the north-west of Pará State, and consists of over 994.000 has. of rainforest. The park's mammal population is one of the most diverse in the world and includes jaguars, anteaters and wild dogs. Also a variety of reptiles, turtles, alligators and birds such as the Royal Falcon live in the region. The park is permanently threatened by loggers, cattle ranchers and farmers.
Exp. contact date: 2007-08-30 00:00:00