"Imagine that several state legislators decide that Yellowstone National Park
is too big. Also imagine that, working with federal politicians, they change
the law to downsize the park by a million acres, which they sell in a private
Outrageous? Yes. Unheard of? No. It happens routinely and with increasing
frequency in the Brazilian Amazon.
The most widely publicized threat to the Amazonian rainforest is deforestation.
Less well understood is that public lands are being converted to private
holdings in a land grab we’ve been studying for the past decade.
Much of this land is cleared for cattle ranches and soybean farms, threatening
biodiversity and the Earth’s climate. Prior research has quantified how much
public land has been grabbed, but only for one type of public land called
“undesignated public forests.”
Our research provides a complete account across all classes of public land. We
looked at Amazonia’s most active deforestation frontier, southern Amazonas
State, starting in 2012 as rates of deforestation began to increase because of
loosened regulatory oversight. Our research shows how land grabs are tied to
accelerating deforestation spearheaded by wealthy interests, and how Brazil’s
National Congress, by changing laws, is legitimizing these land grabs."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics