This week, Brazil’s Ministry for the Environment proposed to open almost 350,000 hectares of protected rainforest for agricultural, mining and logging use.
Pushed by President Michel Temer, the decision would redraw the borders of Jamanxim national forest in the Amazon, a move that the World Wildlife Fund has called an "unprecedented offensive against [Brazil's] protected areas".
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has catastrophic environmental effects on global oxygen production and local wildlife, but has also seen the region turn into a front line in land-related conflicts.
More land rights campaigners were killed in Brazil last year - 49 - than anywhere else in the world, as the race for resources intensifies and levels of impunity remain high, particularly when indigenous communities are targeted.
Lobbyists and senior politicians in Brazil's parliament have highlighted the potential commercial benefits in repurposing rainforest for agricultural and industrial use.
Temer appointed a conservative evangelical to head the country's indigenous agency, while Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio said in April that indigenous communities need to “stop this discussion about lands”.
“Land doesn’t fill anyone’s belly,” he added.
To understand the scale of the destruction, the Silent Forest project last month launched a map that uses data to visualize the extent of deforestation in Brazil.
As part of our Politics of Death series, Place investigated the spiraling violence in Brazil. Read the full report here: Land conflict and murder go "hand in hand" in Brazil
- Ruairi Casey
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