The Ecologist


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No place for oil drilling: lonely Mountain in the Sierra del Divisor national park, Peru. Photo: Diego Pérez / El Taller / Ministerio del Ambiente via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Peru: national park 'Master Plan' opens uncontacted tribe's land to oil drilling

Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd

7th October 2016

Full credit to Peru for creating the Sierra del Divisor national park in one of the most precious areas of the Amazon, write Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd. But not for leaving it open to oil drilling, risking the future of uncontacted indigenous tribes that depend on their pristine rainforest environment to survive. more...
Yanomami children in their forest home - which, with notorious 'Soy King' Bairo Maggi as agriculture minister, is now looking decidedly less secure. Photo: Dung Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil’s new government to sacrifice the Amazon for 'growth'

Ed Atkins, University of Bristol

19th September 2016

It's not that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's ousted President, was wonderful for the environment, writes Ed Atkins. It's that Michel Temer's new regime is certain to be far worse. Plans are afoot to weaken environmental assessments for large projects like mines, roads and dams. And the new Minister of Agriculture is a notorious campaigner for hugely increased deforestation. more...
Brazil's Zo'é tribe are starting to recover from epidemics in the 1980s and '90s now that their land is protected. Photo: Survival International.

Brazil's Olympic triumph - don't mention the genocide!

Lewis Evans

25th August 2016

In the thick of the Olympic frenzy, one voice that was systematically excluded from mainstream narratives is that of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples, writes Lewis Evans, who have fought to survive through centuries of dehumanisation, theft and genocide. And now they face a fresh attack as a proposed constitutional change, PEC 215, threatens a new round of indigenous land theft. more...
Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land. Photo: Greenpeace.

Brazil's indigenous peoples fight Amazon dams threat

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

1st August 2016

Brazil's new neoliberal government is intent on building a massive new dam deep in the Amazon rainforest on the on the Tapajós river, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson, obliterating the indigenous territory of the Munduruku people in defiance of their constitutional rights. more...
With damming of the Tapajos river, a whole world of biodiversity, beauty and indigenous cultures will be destroyed forever. Photo: Canoe on the Tapajos by Clairex (CC BY-NC-SA).

European companies line up to bid for Amazon megadam

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

13th April 2016

Disregarding revelations of systemic political corruption in Brazil's hydropower sector, President Dilma Rousseff is ploughing ahead with a cascade of giant dams on the mighty Tapajos river. Among the companies touting to win huge construction contracts are France's EDF and Engie, and Germany's Voith and Siemens - in a consortium led by Brazil's Electrobras, which stands accused of high-level corruption over four other dam projects. more...
Never again! Texaco-Chevron's toxic oil legacy at Lago Agrio in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr (CC BY).

Ecuador's next Amazon oil battle: Indigenous Peoples on the front line

Kevin Koenig / Amazon Watch

4th April 2016

The rights of nature and of indigenous communities are enshrined in Ecuador's constitution, writes Kevin Koenig. But down in the Amazon the government is going full speed ahead with oil extraction on indigenous territories whose owners are committed to keeping their forests and waters pollution-free. A mighty battle is brewing that looks certain to come to a head this year. more...
Wild coffee grows in these forests of the Ethiopian highlands - and nowhere else. Photo: Indrias Getachew.

Ethiopia's vulnerable tropical forests are key to securing the future of coffee

Fiona Hesselden, University of Huddersfield

24th March 2016

Coffee may be grown all around the tropics, writes Fiona Hesselden, but it originates in just one place: the 'coffee rainforests' of the Ethiopian highlands. We depend on the wild plants for new genes and varieties, yet the forests are falling fast to the advance of farmers. To preserve the forests and all their biodiversity, the original people of the forest must receive their just rewards. more...
Still from video footage taken by a Brazilian government task force during a chance encounter with a Kawahiva tribe member in his rainforest home. Photo: FUNAI.

Brazil must save Amazon's Kawahiva tribe from genocide

Lewis Evans

8th February 2016

The Kawahiva, an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon rainforest, face extinction unless Brazil's government acts to secure their legal rights to land, security and to remain undisturbed by outsiders, writes Lewis Evans. The decree that would achieve this vital goal has been sitting on the Minister of Justice's desk since 2013. Let's make sure he signs it soon, before it's too late. more...
A child in one of the 'unrecognised' Bedouin villages of the Negev desert, Israel: an Israeli citizen, but one less equal than others. Photo: Physicians for Human Rights - Israel via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Don't build Jew-only towns on the rubble of Bedouin villages

Jewish Coalition for the Bedouin of Um al-Hiran and Atir

26th January 2016

Israel's government is now free to expel 1,200 of its Bedouin citizens from their 'unrecognised' villages in the Negev desert, following a Supreme Court decision not to hear their appeal. Now only one thing can save the Bedouin, their communities and their way of life: an international outcry. more...
Devastating fire last year in the cerrado savanna region, one of Brazil’s most threatened biomes. Photo: José Cruz/ABr via Wikimedia (CC-BY).

Brazil: as forest fires rage, new laws will open gates of hell

Jan Rocha

14th January 2016

Never mind Brazil's COP21 promises to cut its carbon emissions, writes Jan Rocha. New laws passing through Congress will encourage deforestation by removing safeguards and opening up indigenous territories to mega-projects. Serious drought is already contributing to a big increase in forest fires. more...
A tribal elder from the Tagbanua tribe in Quezon municipality, central Palawan. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Philippines islanders unite to resist 'land grab' palm oil companies

Rod Harbinson

7th January 2016

Farmers on Palawan are being tricked into giving land away to palm oil companies with local government support, writes Rod Harbinson. Under the palm oil company 'leases' the farmers lose all rights to their land, never receive any money, and are saddled with 25 years of debt. Those who resist the land grabs are now in fear for their lives following the murder of a prominent campaigner. more...
Melka group oil palm plantations near Pucallpa, Peru, cutting deep into primary rainforest, April 2014. Photo: Rainforest Rescue via FPP.

Peru rainforest defender threatened: 'we will kill you'

The Ecologist

19th November 2015

Death threats to an indigenous forest defender in Peru have followed his success in closing down an illegal palm oil operation on his tribe's lands carried out by a member company of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, now meeting in Kuala Lumpur. more...

forest peoples: 1/25 of 75
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Vanishing rainforest: soon more oil palm plantations. Seen on flight between Miri and Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo: Bernard DUPONT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sustainable palm oil? RSPO's greenwashing and fraudulent audits exposed

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

19th November 2015

A new investigation of palm oil plantations, companies and auditors has found that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is failing to deliver on its promise, writes Chris Lang. Widespread fraud, collusion between auditors and companies, conflicts of interest, and a flawed complaints system mean that RSPO-certified palm oil may be destructively and illegally produced. more...
Women in Jepara's teak forest area harvest ground nuts, Central Java, Indonesia, June, 2009. Photo: Murdani Usman / Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Local communities, not global financiers, are the best forest managers

Isaac Rojas / Friends of the Earth International

2nd November 2015

A new paradigm of forest conservation is gaining ground, writes Isaac Rojas: 'financialising' them and the climate and ecological services they provide to global investors. But this is a false solution - and one that excludes the local and indigenous forest communities who can truly be relied upon to sustain their sylvan heritage. more...
Women of the Dongria Kondh tribe make their way to a gram sabha hearing to determine their religious rights over the Niyamgiri mountain in Odisha, 13th August 2013. Photo: jimanish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

India's Indigenous Peoples organise to protect forests, waters and commons

Pushpa Achanta / Waging Nonviolence

7th November 2015

India's neoliberal government is attempting the mass seizure of indigenous lands, commons and forests in order to hand them over for corporate exploitation with mines, dams and plantations, writes Pushpa Achanta. But tribal communities are rising up to resist the takeover, which is not only morally reprehensible but violates India's own laws and international human rights obligations. more...
Burning forest in the Amazon at Flona do Jamanxim. Novo Progresso, Pará, Brazil. Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Amazon - illegal loggers set Indigenous forest ablaze

Luana Lila / Greenpeace Brazil

28th October 2015

Deep in the Brazilian Amazon indigenous people have been protecting their reserve from illegal loggers, writes Luana Lila. The loggers took their revenge by kindling one of the Amazon's biggest fires ever, destroying almost 200,000 hectares of rainforest. more...
A guard admires a rainforest vista near Elephant Valley. Photo: William F. Laurance.

Cambodia's 'Elephant Valley' brings new hope to a last precious rainforest

William Laurance

24th October 2015

An initiative to re-home abused, over-worked domestic elephants is supporting the conservation of one of Cambodia's last and most species-rich rainforests, writes William Laurance. Growing ecotourism in the area, attracted by the elephants, is engaging indigenous communities in forest protection and helping to stave off the pressure from loggers and plantations. more...
Sue Lloyd Roberts, over a drink on a terrace next to Covent Garden, 2012. Photo: Bogdan Adrian Bisa via Facebook.

Sue Lloyd Roberts - the BBC must make sure her work continues

Oliver Tickell

14th October 2015

Sue Lloyd Roberts, the brilliant investigative journalist who died yesterday, was a unique phenomenon in the BBC, writes Oliver Tickell - fearless, rooting out the dirtiest of secrets, fighting the cause of the oppressed, abused, exploited and downtrodden. Now the BBC must keep her mission alive with a new, independent unit dedicated to human rights worldwide. more...
34 people were killed at the 2009 protest for indigenous rights at Bagua, Peru. Photo: anonoymous via powless / Flickr (CC BY).

Neoliberals with chainsaws: deforestation in Peru and the future of the Amazon

Clément Doleac

5th October 2015

Peru is in hot competition with Brazil to be the main focus of Amazonian deforestation, writes Clément Doleac. A neoliberal government desperate to hand over the country's forests, oil, gas, minerals and indigenous lands for corporate exploitation is unafraid to break national laws, turn a blind eye to air and water pollution, and respond to any challenges with overwhelming violence. more...
Just hanging ... Orangutan trio enjoying bananas at Pesalat Rehabilitation Center, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Palm oil versus orangutans? Don't forget the human dimension

Liana Chua

28th September 2015

The orangutans of Southeast Asia make a fantastic symbol of endangered rainforests, writes Liana Chua, rousing public opposition to palm oil companies and their bulldozers. But this story of good versus evil omits the essential human dimension. To save the rainforests and their great apes, we must make forest peoples a key part of the conservation narrative. more...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...
Baram Dam blockade at Long Lama. Photo: Borneo Project.

Broken Promises: new film exposes Malaysia's indigenous rights violations

Jettie Word

17th August 2015

Malaysia is pushing ahead with its plans for a devastating series of 12 dams in the rainforests of Borneo that will kill a billion trees, bring death to wildlife on a stupendous scale and evict tens of thousands of indigenous people and their communities, writes Jettie Word. Now a new film honours their struggle for land, forest and freedom. more...
The JNF-sponsored Yatir Forest advances over a hill towards the Bedouin village of Atir. Photo: Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag.

Israel's Forest of Yatir to expand over Bedouin village

Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag & The Ecologist

23rd June 2014

It should be good news, but it's not. Israel's largest man-made forest is set for enlargement, but at the expense of a village where a Bedouin community has lived since they were resettled there in 1956. Its sister village is to be demolished so a new Jewish town can be built on its ruins. more...
Some 300 indigenous Guajajara and Awá-Guajá people blockade the Carajás railroad in October 2012 to call for the repeal of Brazil's Ordinance 303, which abolished the need for indigenous consultation for major infrastructure projects deemed integral to

'Deadly' trans-Amazon railway sparks fear among rainforest tribes

The Ecologist

16th June 2015

A proposed $30 billion railway line linking the the Peruvian and Brazilian coasts threatens devastation to forests and indigenous tribes that lie along its route, and will add to wider pressures on land and forests. more...
Matare, a Nuer settlement along Baro River, Gambela Region, Ethiopia, in quieter times. Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia 2005 / Getachew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesser known story of India's role in Ethiopian land grabs

Mohammad Amir Anwar

15th June 2015

It's not just western corporations that are moving into large-scale agribusiness in Ethiopia, writes Mohammad Amir Anwar. Indian investors have acquired rights to some 6,000 of land much of it in the ecologically sensitive Gambela region, where unconsulted Nuer and Anuak peoples are suffering from forest clearance. more...


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