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The 14th 'Free Terra' Camp in Praça dos Ipês, Brasília, during April 24-28 2017. Over 4,000 representatives from 200 indigenous peoples from all regions of the country were present in a large demonstration of strength of the indigenous movement. Photo:

Brazil: Increase in land killings as political crisis threatens Amazon

Joe Sandler Clarke & Sam Cowie / Greenpeace Energydesk

7th June 2017

Impunity reigns in the Amazon, write Joe Sandler Clarke & Sam Cowie, and the indigenous peoples of the forest are the big losers as they suffer repeated killings and land grabs. Big cuts to Funai, the agency meant to protect Brazil's indigenous tribes, have encouraged land barons to expand their land holdings into indigenous territories and murder any who resist. more...
Mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in celebration of indigenous culture by the artist Eduardo Kobra. Photo: Stefano Ravalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil: Amazon's Indians, rainforest under attack

Jan Rocha / Climate News Network

10th May 2017

Attacks on Amazon Indians and on their land rights are threatening vital areas of rainforest, writes Jan Rocha. Meanwhile FUNAI, the agency responsible for safeguarding indigenous tribes is being forced to withdraw from key conflict zones due to underfunding, while Indians' attempts to assert their rights are met with state violence. more...
Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Photo: Lameirasb via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them

Prakash Kashwan, University of Connecticut

26th April 2017

Who are the best guardians of forests and other wild places? Governments? Conservation NGOs? Corporations? No, writes Prakash Kashwan, it's the indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for millennia. But to be able do so, they must first be accorded rights to their historic lands and resources, both in law and in practice. Among the countries leading the way, Mexico. Among the laggards, Kenya and India. more...
Aerial view of Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar. Photo: via Andrew Lees Trust.

Tall tales and tailings - the truth about Rio Tinto's rare earth mine in Madagascar

Yvonne Orengo

3rd April 2017

Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar was meant to be an exemplar of 'corporate social responsibility' and environmental best practice. But the reality experienced by local communities is different, writes Yvonne Orengo, with uncompensated land seizures, food insecurity, deforestation and social deprivation. New concerns are emerging about the infringement of legal buffer zones and radiation exposure. Rio Tinto must be held responsible for its actions! more...
At risk: Canaima National Park in the Venezuelan Amazon headwaters. Photo: Antonio Jose Hitcher (@antoniohitcher).

Saving the Venezuelan Amazon: mega-nature reserve? Or mega-mining frontier?

Lucio Marcello

30th March 2017

Venezuela is set to hand over 12% of the nation's territory in the upper reaches of the Amazon rainforest to mining corporations, writes Lucio Marcello, with 150 companies from 35 countries poised to devastate the army-controlled 'special economic zone'. But resistance is growing, and a counter-proposal aims to protect the area's precious biodiversity, indigenous cultures and water resources in a new South Orinoco Mega Reserve. more...
A forest? You might not think so, but according to the FAO's definition, oh yes it is! Photo: Balaji Kasirajan via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

FAO: Plantations are not forests!

World Rainforest Movement

21st March 2017

Since 1948 the UN's Food and Agriculture has been clinging to an outmoded definition of 'forests' that includes industrial wood plantations, writes WRM in this Open Letter for delivery to the FAO today, International Forests Day. This mis-definition seriously harms real forests and forest peoples as it justifies the clearance of real forests and their replacement with cash crops of trees. more...
Roadside banner opposing mining in Intag, Ecuador. Photo: dawn paley via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Ecuador's 'progressive' extractivism - mining, ecocide and the silencing of dissent

Carlos Zorrilla

6th March 2017

Ecuador's 'socialist' President Correa has unleashed a wave of repression at Andean communities seeking to protect their lands, forests and nature from open pit mining, writes Carlos Zorrilla. With most of biodiversity-rich Intag region conceded to international mining companies, the mood is one of rising fear and desperation in the countdown to next month's election. more...
Evicted from their forests for a flawed model of conservation: Baka 'Pygmies' in the Cameroon forest. Photo: ..zuzu.. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

OECD takes up complaint that WWF has funded abuses of Cameroon's forest peoples

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

12th January 2017

The OECD is pursuing a complaint that WWF has funded abuses against the indigenous forest-dwelling Baka or 'Pygmy' peoples of Cameroon, after determining that its human rights guidelines do apply to WWF owing to the 'commercial nature' of its conservation activities. more...
'Entry forbidden - Law number 26834 - Law number 28736 - Zone of restricted access owing to the presence of indigenous peoples living in isolation'. Sign in the Manu National Park, Peru. Photo: oarranzli via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Amazon: rainforest road threatens Peru's last isolated tribes

Oliver Tickell

1st December 2016

Peru's Congress may soon approve a road through remote rainforest which is home to the country's last uncontacted tribes. The link to the Inter-Oceanic highway would open the area up to land grabs, wood cutting and gold mining, and expose vulnerable indigenous people to diseases to which they have no immunity. more...
Local communities in Pitas are monitoring the area in order to prevent the project from expanding into the remaining 1,000 acres of mangrove forest. The sign reads: Future for indigenous peoples. Photo: Camilla Capasso / FPP.

'Poverty alleviation' shrimp farms destroy mangrove forest, grab indigenous land

Camilla Capasso

17th November 2016

A government-led shrimp farming project meant to tackle extreme poverty in northern Sabah, Malaysian, won local support in 2010 by promising job opportunities for impoverished indigenous communities. Six years on, mangrove forests local people depend on for food, materials and income are closed off and being cleared - but the jobs have yet to materialise. more...
A logging truck in Asia Pulp and Paper's PT Wira Karya Sakti pulpwood forest license. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2005. Now APP is financing forest restoration through the Belantara Foundation. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY

Hope for forests at COP22

Tony Juniper

15th November 2016

COP22 has revealed signs of real momentum toward an effective role for tropical forests in achieving a low carbon future, writes Tony Juniper. Now for the hard bit - connecting with realities on the ground to make it happen. This will mean working with indigenous and other forest communities to support and reward their conservation efforts, while harnessing large-scale international carbon finance. more...
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...

forest peoples: 1/25 of 86
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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...
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...

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