Greenpeace turns spotlight on man accused of extensive Amazon deforestation

Press release - 6 March, 2006
Greenpeace turned the spotlight on the man accused by the Brazilian Environment Agency (IBAMA) of being responsible for a major 'forest crime' in the heart of the Amazon - the destruction a vast area of pristine rainforest.

Greenpeace activists occupy an area in 1,645 hectares of the Amazon that has been illegally deforested and unfurled a huge 2,500 square meter banner. The President of the Agricultural Producers Association in Santarem, – José Donizetti – is held directly responsible by the Brazilian Environmental Agency IBAMA for this illegal deforestation.

ThePresident of the Agricultural Producers Association in Santarem, Brazil - JoséDonizetti Pires de Oliveira - is held directly responsible by IBAMA for theillegal deforestation of the 1,645 hectares of rainforest in the heart of theGlebe Pacoval in the state of Para (1), known for its rich diversity of plantand animal life and home to traditional forest communities.

Greenpeaceactivists occupied the deforested area in a remote rainforest region andunfurled a huge 2,500 square metre banner with the message "100% forestcrime". They were joined by local communities who symbolically plantednative trees in the area. Donizetti reacted violently to the peaceful protest,intimidated the protestors and destroyed the banner.

"Thisis just one example of illegal activities that are destroying the Amazon. Thisrainforest is a global treasure that stabilizes the climate and is home to mostland life on the planet and to millions of people. It's taken thousands ofyears to grow and once it's destroyed it's gone forever. Unless laws againstthese sorts of forest crime are rigorously and urgently enforced to protect therainforest and its people, we'll have a biological catastrophe on ourhands," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign coordinator.

Donizettiis responsible for destroying an area equivalent to more than 2,303 footballfields in this area of Amazon alone. Even though he has twice been fined byIBAMA, he continues to operate illegally in this area. Loggers and soyproducers have even illegally built a road in the rainforest to link Santarémto the Transamazonica Highway, indicating they fully intend to illegallydevelop the region.

Accordingto IBAMA, this is the largest deforestation area found in this region of theAmazon in the last seven years. "Despite its remoteness, Gleba Pacoval isbecoming a frontier for the expansion of soy plantations. This devastationemphasizes the need for effective forest law enforcement," said Adario.

Moreforest is destroyed in Brazil every year than in any other country. In the lastthree years more than 7 million hectares the Amazon rainforest has been lost togive way to pastures and crop fields, including soy. Of the total soy exportedfrom Santarém, the vast majority goes to Europe.

Deforestationhas increased since north American multinational Cargill announced in August2002 that the Santarém region is able to produce one million tonnes of soy from300,000 hectares of cultivatable land (2). This has aggravated biodiversityloss, social conflicts and land disputes in the region.

Today'sprotest is part of the Greenpeace campaign to highlight the crisis being facedby the oceans and forests in the Amazon and the rest of the world. In the leadup to the Summit for Life on Earth, the meeting of the UN Convention onBiological Diversity which begins on March 20th in Brazil, Greenpeace iscalling on governments to establish a comprehensive network of protected areasaround the world with effective law enforcement and management.

Greenpeaceis an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creativeconfrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutionsessential to a green and peaceful future. It is committed to protecting theworld's last ancient forests and the people and animals that depend upon them.

Other contacts: Tica Minami, Media officer for Greenpeace Amazon campaign (in Santarem): +55 92 8114 4517Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign coordinator (in Santarem) + 55 92 8115 8928Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace International forests campaign co-ordinator (in Amsterdam) +31 652 391 429

VVPR info: Images of today's protest are available on request

Notes: 1. IBAMA's infringement notice, document number 468420, identified José Donizetti Pires de Oliveira as responsible for 995 hectares of deforestation in Glebe Pacoval and fined him US$ 701,663. In May 2005, IBAMA held him responsible for further 650 hectares of illegal deforestation in the same area. The area was injuncted as well as the machinery. Together, the two deforested areas represent 1,645 hectares. Another infringement notice, document number 468421, held Oliveira responsible for "burning and destroying 120 cubic meters of Brazil nut trees to implement a non-authorized agriculture project". He was fined US$ 28,207 for this offence. (US dollar to Real conversion rate as of 2nd March). 2. José Luiz Glaser, Cargill's Director in Santarém, in an interview to Gazeta Mercantil newspaper, "The new route of soy from Pará", 15 August 2002.

Exp. contact date: 2007-03-06 00:00:00