Stolen Amazon: The Roots of Environmental Crime in Five Countries

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

Environmental crime respects no borders. This investigation -- conducted with Igarapé Institute -- reveals how wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illicit gold mining, and slash-and-burn land clearance are spreading across five Amazonian countries: Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, and Suriname.

These countries account for some 20 percent of the Amazon Basin and have collectively lost 10 million hectares of forest over the last two decades -- an area the size of Portugal.

This in-depth report traces the chain of actors involved in the plunder, from the labor force harvesting trees and digging up gold to the brokers and corrupt officials that launder the ill-gotten materials. It also uncovers the land trafficking schemes that serve settlers who invade forests to sow palm oil and soy, as well as raise cattle, for the benefit of large-scale agribusiness.

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Chapter 1

Amazon Rainforest Under Attack From All Sides

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

Environmental crime is driving deforestation across the Amazon, where some parts are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb.

Chapter 2

Fueling Forest Loss: Motors of Deforestation in the Amazon

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

The Amazon is being plundered at an accelerating rate. Deforesters across Bolivia and Ecuador are emboldened to clear trees for agribusiness.

Chapter 3

Beneath The Surface of Illegal Gold Mining in the Amazon

BRAZIL / 8 NOV 2022

As gold prices have skyrocketed, a boom in mining across the Amazon Basin has flourished, leaving a deep environmental footprint.

Chapter 4

Wildlife Trafficking Preys on the Amazon Basin

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

The Amazon is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, where wildlife trafficking threatens hundreds of thousands of species.

Chapter 5

Corruption: The Common Source of Environmental Crime in the Amazon

ELITES AND CRIME / 8 NOV 2022

Across the countries that share the Amazon basin, corruption that facilitates environmental crime is an open secret.

Chapter 6

Legal Frameworks to Protect the Amazon Are Being Sorely Tested

ECUADOR / 8 NOV 2022

Environmental crime is devastating the Amazon. What are these five Amazonian states doing to protect it?…

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