According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the number of Amazon forest fires this year increased by 84 percent compared to 2018.
The western region of Rondonia appears to be one of the most deforested, with exploitation of the land the main cause.
In August, President Jair Bolsonaro, without evidence, blamed NGOs working on the ground for the fires.
Environmental activists, meanwhile, denounced Amazonian land-grabbers, farmers and agribusiness companies, backed by the government’s rhetoric, for setting fire to the forest and exploiting the land.
The plots of land are almost entirely cultivated with soya monoculture or animal feed for grazing cattle. The soya business, as food and as animal feed for intensive livestock, is in the hands of a few large companies, and it has become one of the most profitable in the world.
“In the name of development, there is an implementation of less restrictive policies on the exploitation of Amazonian lands, thus legitimising an increase in deforestation,” said Neidinha, who runs Kaninde, an organisation working with indigenous groups in Rondonia to protect the enviornment.
Incursions into indigenous territories have also increased, according to members of the Karitiana and the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribes.
Juripe, chief of the Jamari village, said in September, a group of land-grabbers caught setting fires in their forest was identified and arrested.
“Although the indigenous tribes are the only ones able to live in the natural reserves, loggers and land grabbers have regularly invaded our lands to make profit with the exploitation of the forest,” said Juripe.
The feature was originally published in AL JAZEERA.
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