Importance of Natural Resources

Meet the Ranchers Who Claim the Brazilian Amazon is Theirs to Burn | The Dispatch

It’s moving fast. It’s not just a ground fire. It’s reaching up
into the canopy here, too, and just scorching everything. Is this the usual amount of fire that you see? Are you worried about
the illicit activity that happens here? Pará, Brazil. Parts of the rainforest
in this region have lost so much
tree cover it hardly looks like the Amazon. I’m on a highway called
the BR-163. In August, this corridor
for soy and beef exports lit up like an inferno. Many of the fires were
started on protected lands on a single day,
a so-called Day of Fire. So, I take the highway here to
a protected reserve that saw major burning on that day. It’s called the Jamanxim
National Forest. This year, the Jamanxim lost over 45 square miles
of tree cover. That’s an area twice
the size of Manhattan. It’s the worst deforestation
of all protected areas in Brazil. But many people who live here see this as progress. And it has a lot
to do with beef. Brazil is the world’s largest
exporter of beef. About half of the cattle
are raised on pasture that used to be rainforest. And demand is growing. I’m visiting an annual
barbecue and auction near the Jamanxim. But it’s not your typical
backyard get-together. Some landowners and
ranchers here brazenly defy environmental laws. Last year, a government
report linked this man, a union leader,
to land-grabbing schemes. This woman, head of a
national association, was fined for burning
350 acres of rainforest. This man, a local mayor, was caught destroying over 700 acres
of virgin rainforest inside the Jamanxim reserve. They all deny wrongdoing. What producers here want is to privatize the reserves,
and there’s hostility here towards anyone who
tries to stop them. The producers are petitioning an important government
official, Nabhan Garcia, appointed by
President Bolsonaro to open up the Amazon
for development. There’s no question
which side Mr. Garcia’s on. He’s a rancher and
farmer himself. According to your own
government studies, many of the people in some
of these protected areas came in after the
park was created. They’re in there
illegally according to your own government
standards right now. Part of the reason we’re here is because of all
the fires, right? To be clear, deforesting
land without authorization is illegal in Brazil. It’s seized land
that’s logged, burned and converted,
mostly for grazing. We’re talking millions of
acres, billions of dollars and a web of
criminal activity. But at the core
of the issue is what turns out to be a
pretty complicated question. Who does all this
land belong to? I catch up with
Luiz Helfenstein, who I’d met at the barbecue. His ranch is right at the edge
of the Jamanxim National Forest. He considers himself one of the pioneers here. When you started, is this the first
settlement that you built? Luiz came here
back in the ’80s. He was handed 4,000
acres of rainforest, part of a government plan
to develop the Amazon. That’s the BR-163. November 1994. Then the political winds
shifted and preservation became the priority. In 2006, the government
established the Jamanxim National Forest, taking back most of the land previously given to Luiz
and other producers. They felt cheated,
and some have responded by grabbing and
burning protected land. I take a ride with
Agamenon da Silva Menezes. Is this your car? He’s the head of a union
for ranchers out here. Was the Day of Fire an example of
that disobedience? But satellite data confirms there was an unusual spike in
the number of fires on Aug. 10. Local reporters wrote about
this so-called Day of Fire, exposing a coordinated plan
among ranchers and land-grabbers to burn newly
cleared forest. One of those reporters,
Adecio Piran, soon found his face
on a wanted poster. Did you ever receive
death threats or threats to your personal safety? That type of intimidation helps explain how so much criminal
activity can go unpunished. Last year, 30
environmental activists were murdered in Brazil. I follow a group of
firefighters with one of Brazil’s
environmental agencies into a biological reserve. The agency has been
attacked by locals and their authority undermined
by Bolsonaro’s government. None of the men will
speak on the record. So this is what the effort
to protect the forest here now looks like: a handful of men
carving control lines and putting out brush fires
with a leaf blower. It takes a bird’s-eye view
to capture the magnitude of what they’re up against. This fire is nearly
four miles long. According to
Brazilian satellites, more than a soccer field
worth of rainforest is cleared every minute. I’m back on the road, driving off federal land,
when I see these two trucks. They pull on to the
BR-163 highway with loads of fresh logs.

Reader Comments

  1. It would be a perfect world if the rest of the world governments payed a tax to the Brazilian government that goes toward protecting, maintaining and growing the forest AS WELL as compensating people for the land if they can prove they’ve had righteous ownership of land.

    These people are holding 20% of world’s oxygen supply hostage. If the rest of the world doesn’t care about them, why should they care about the rest of the world? What they are doing seems evil to the rest of the world and would anger anyone but understand why they feel the way they do. To them, the rest of the world is evil for trying to claim their divine land and complete forgetting about them.

    Until the whole world unites and understands that we’re all in the same boat and have to help EACH OTHER out, then the destruction of this planet will not seize. Of course such thing is unrealistic and probably wont happen until it’s too late.

  2. Dont blame Brazil. We are all responsible because we buy their products be it wood, or beef for example. Also, why should they in Brazil not wish to exploit their resources, just like was done in all the developed world? I repeat: they will exploit their resources in Brazil, because the rest of the world will welcome their products and purchase them, while paying lip service to the environment!

  3. I honestly feel bad for these Brazilian farmers, they just want to make a better lives for them and their families, but what’s inexcusable is when it comes at the cost of the amazon not being able to function as an eco system, endangered and non endangered species, the murder of environmental activists, and indigenous communities.

  4. You can take the mid-evil feudalist out of Europe but, you can take the mid- evil out of him!………they don't respect themselves so, how can they respect the fragile ecosystems and others!

  5. "In america people who destroy [nature reserves] are celebrated " Sorry honey doing that here will end you up in jail if not ripped apart financial or physically by the citizens and government here.

  6. I think we should impose sanctions because this issue affects the entire world. We get a huge portion of our oxygen from the Amazon. Those trees sometimes take hundreds of years to grow. What is happening is irreversible. You can’t breath money.

  7. I really hope that before too long we have an army of the Earth which goes in and kills the killers of these people, and their land.

  8. Look at the world people are just aren't going to stop doing bab stuff if we don't stop we are going to be in big trouble

  9. the years that have the most deforestation was in the goverments of lula and dilma. this documentary is bias to the left

  10. Only thing we can is wait till the amazon dies and we’ll ridicule Brazil till the end of time for killing the Amazon. Maybe they’ll finally see what they done.

  11. "enemies of Brazil", this is the argument that every oppressing state has used throughout the centuries, trying to take away the ability to criticize their actions. Scary how often it works.

  12. PLEASE IM 13 I NEED TO CREATE A FAMILY IN NORMAL WEATHER PLEASE!!! Im crying every day to fight with the climatechange.. Please my family is using a eco car co2🚫🚫🚫
    😫😭😥 the amazonas is need to help!!!

  13. it's hurt me everytime I watch they chop the tree, the fire and those smoke. dear Brazilian govt, if you can't take care of it, sell it to UN. if money really that important to you..


  15. Then soon a drought and it looks like california. Progress. Billions of beings die. We are dooming our kids future.

  16. GOD WILL BURN THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR ALL ETERNITY WHILE BEING RIPPED APART LIMB FROM LIMB!!! its our right to destroy gods creation! It's our right to destroy the lungs of the earth and turn the planet into a desert!! THOSE IDIOTS SHOULD BE ROUNDED UP

  17. Then they are there to be killed and left for dead in the forest.

    "If it is there then it is mine to do with as I want" philosophy works for anything morons

  18. The strong rules right? A terrorist organization organization together with powerful underground groups should probably set up a base there and control the government. If the UN does not do anything r cannot do something, let the bad guys take care of it

  19. It is there's and if i was there i would burn and start farms too them pig headed greens would like to control land they don't own and see people with no jobs and living in poverty

  20. Perfectly useful.. Healthy.. Material.. Gone to waste.. So much for progress haha dont worry we won't die they're killing themselves if anything

  21. They could easily learn to build architecture beautifuly through and around the forest yet they seek to destroy it 👍🏼

  22. Humans are just selfish creatures. We need to pray our kind is fully exterminated SOON so that nature may take back her planet!

  23. people are throwing away the Earth's treasures for short term gain… these people are so short sited. They're hurting their own children by destroying the planet like this.

  24. I'm glad India and China realised their deforestation mistakes and are trying to plant more trees. Brazil is trying too hard to catch-up.

  25. There's a really cool search engine that plants trees, called "Ecosia ". It lets you know how many trees it has planted on the main search engine page. And if you get the app, which is free, it shows you how many trees your searches alone have planted.Tell more people! Here is the link:

  26. The Lorax tale is becoming real. The farmers who were upset that the government took back land that was given, years after they had given it away and these farmers had already made their money? Why are they crying? They made money off the land now the land goes back to conservation. Had you not made any money off that land and you were just kicked off maybe I’d pity them a bit but not like this. They made their money. And then they think they had a right to revenge.

  27. Once Europe was covered by forests. So please shut up you hypocrites!!! Many other countries are cutting down their forests, trees to sell the wood. You hypocrites!

  28. Please read.
    Let us all understand that not everyone is given the education or guidance to look up environmental concepts that does not directly affect them. Also, not everyone is privileged enough to prioritize the environment among everything else. These people have mindsets that get passed generation to generation until it has become inherent. People like such make a living burning the forest down. It's what works for them and it's what puts food on their tables.

    Be can't criticize someone for only wanting to live. What we can criticize and pressure is the government which can give these people better, greener careers. You can't just say "STOP MAKING A LIVING BURNING TREES!" without providing them another way to make a living.

    Indeed, Bolsonaro and other individuals has been very passive in the deforestation issue and we should criticize where criticism is due. I'm not saying they deserve a free pass. What I am saying is that we should see the bigger picture and not judge subjectively just because it challenges our advocacy.

    We need to communicate smart and not provoke others to further root themselves in wrong ideologies.

  29. There are a lot of people being shut down right here in the US as well. They call it "suicide" when they are actually being "dealt with" or found to be missing. Like that doctor from CDC in Georgia after getting a promotion goes missing and then found dead in a river. Agenda 21 and 2030 and so on and so on. We will have an artificially created food shortage. Check out what is happening in China. Be ready, it's going to be a bumpy ride for many. US included. Interesting this YT channel is NYT. I guess everyone will feel good once a big news agency is sympathetic. People get to say something. But trust me nothing will be done. "They" are too big to fail. Only God can do something. We can only pray and find mercy in the Lord. These people are ruthless and do not care about you.

  30. These farmers are killing the world without the Amazon the world would be in bad shape the farmers that are doing this are selfish, greedy, and stupid. Farmers that are destroying this beautiful rainforest need to be harshly punished.

  31. Americans want Beef , everything made of wooden and Amazon too ! All these won't go hand in hand when govt. itself a corrupt business

  32. That one union lady is delusional. In the U.S. if you burn any public land, especially protected land such as state/national parks, you will be heavily fined and probably sent to prison.

  33. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can't eat money.

  34. DONT LET THE MEDIA MADE YOUR HEAD those burns happens during the dry season in the cerrado part of amazon a kind of savana its complet normal my grabdmother travels a lot in a lot o places in brazil, we are brazilians abd we can make sure that this is a lie. PEO LE WANT OUR RESOURCES THATS WHY THEY ATACK HS USING AMAZON AS A EXUSE

  35. If the destruction of the rainforest starts significantly affecting the US in a negative way, like weather patterns shifting in Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, etc into new deserts 🏜️. We will attack. Bet on it.

  36. Americans destroy there country but feel they know the best for another country, take care of the problems at home first.

  37. I curse any westerners condemning these burns!
    when we are the ones who put this type of economy into place.
    Not allow other countries to follow in our tracks + making us look like the holy people, fighting for whats best.

    Why don’t we give Brazil money for the o2 they produce and watch what happens.
    But no! We reward short term profits and condemn them at the same time.

    I very much hope we are wiped off this planet to make way for a race with more sense.
    Or at least one not as hypocritical…

  38. i think it's safe to say that 2020 is gonna be the time things will change in our planet and every human have to embrace it of what will happen

  39. I am not exactly a tree lover by any means but this is terrible it’s really sad that the government is so corrupt down their that nothing is really being done, here in the states all those people would already be in jail if they set fire and put that many people in danger. Hope they stop this and don’t develop on this forest

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