The Intercept Brasil shows how powerful groups operate in taking over public lands in the Amazon to turn them into pastureland and areas for timber sales.
Every day, immense areas of forest that belong to all Brazilians are stolen by groups of professional land grabbers. These are the forest thieves, who clear, burn, and then profit from public lands. With the support of the Rainforest Investigations Network, the Intercept spent a year investigating illegal logging in the Amazon and uncovered a scheme involving engineers, realtors, government agencies, and lots of money.
In the first report of the series, we tell the story of the largest continuous deforestation ever recorded in the Amazon, carried out by three men in southern Pará. Thanks to satellite images and field research, we were able to reconstitute how this deforestation took place, transforming an area valued at R$100 million into pasture.
In the second article, we revealed how illegal land is sold freely by brokers who earn millionaire commissions in Pará. All this is possible thanks to the land-grabbing engineer, who uses the state's own tool, the CAR, to give a veneer of legality to land theft and circumvent the land regularization rules.
In the third story of the series, we went to the south of the Amazon to show how a group of loggers removed 45,000 truckloads of wood from a federal area. All this under the indifference of Ibama (the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and with the blessing of the state environmental agency.
In the last report, The Intercept revealed how the Bolsonaro government gave up protecting 8 million hectares in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Pantanal, including the region with the highest estimated concentration of jaguars in the world.