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Wed Apr 24, 2019, 03:25 AM

Illegal logging in Brazil turning Amazon into a powder keg

24 Apr 2019 at 10:45

Arara indigenous chief Tatji Arara (left), 41, patrols with a rifle near the stump of an
illegally logged tree on Arara indigenous land, in Para state, Brazil, on March 13.
According to the NGO Imazon, deforestation in the Amazonia increased by 54% in
January this year, the first month of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's term, compared
to the same month of 2018. Para state concentrates the 37% of the devastated areas.
(Photo: AFP)

ALTAMIRA, Brazil: A rifle resting on his shoulder, Tatji Arara looks despondent as he steps over the trunks of huge trees felled by timber traffickers in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest, now the scene of numerous land conflicts.

"Every day, we find new trees cut down. I've never seen anything like this," laments the 41-year-old, a leader of the Arara indigenous people in the northern state of Para.

He says illegal logging on Arara lands -- an area equivalent to 264,000 football fields -- has intensified since President Jair Bolsonaro came to power in January.

Bolsonaro, a far-right champion of agribusiness, vowed during last year's election campaign that he would not give up "one centimeter more" of land to indigenous communities in Brazil, home to around 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest.


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