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Story Publication logo September 12, 2022

With the Support of the MT Government and Funai, the City Hall Illegally Deforests an Indigenous Area To Plant Grains (Portuguese)


a piece of land from mining

In the lands of the Xavante people, in the Amazon, a new model of invasion and deforestation of the...


This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Repórter Brasil. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

An area equivalent to 420 soccer fields was deforested in the Parabubure Indigenous Land to implement mechanized farming. Removal of the forest was done by the Campinápolis municipality without Ibama's approval. Image by Bruna Obadowski.

The mayor of Campinápolis (MT) deforested an area equivalent to 420 soccer fields in the Parabubure IT, Brazil, without Ibama's approval. Machines and fuel were supplied by the management of Mauro Mendes, the governor favored for reelection

The government of Mato Grosso provided agricultural machines and donated fuel for the city hall of Campinápolis to clear, without an environmental license, about 300 hectares of native forest inside the Parabubure Indigenous Land (TI), 610 km from Cuiabá, for the cultivation of grains. The action had the support of the head of the Xavante Regional Coordination of Funai (National Indian Foundation), but is questioned by officials who work in the inspection and point to possible environmental crime.

The felling of the forest occurred in March and April and was identified by local Funai agents, according to a statement by the Segat (Service of Environmental and Territorial Management) of the Xavante regional office, obtained by the report. "This Segat is unaware of any authorized deforestation activity in the referred area," says the document, which considers the situation "serious." "The tractors present at the deforestation site are identified with Mato Grosso State government stickers."

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The mayor's office of Campinápolis acknowledges that it deforested the site without authorization from Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), but says that the environmental license would not be necessary in this case, because the action is part of a policy of the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government to implement mechanized farming on indigenous lands and would have the support of Funai and the Mato Grosso secretariats of environment and agriculture. The state is governed by Mauro Mendes (União Brasil), one of the governors closest to Bolsonaro, both candidates for reelection in 2022 and enthusiasts of mechanized planting on indigenous lands.

The report caught sight in July of the opening of new roads inside the indigenous land, also done without Ibama's approval. Image by Bruna Obadowski/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

Governor of MT Mauro Mendes supports the implementation of mechanized farming on indigenous lands in the state, a project endorsed by Funai in Bolsonaro's administration. Image by Mayke Toscano/SECOM-MT. Brazil, 2022.
Machines with stickers of the MT government were used in the irregular removal of native forest of the Parabubure IT, according to Funai inspection. Images by Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

Image by Bruna Obadowski/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

Deforestation threatens sites sacred to the Xavante, such as the Lagoa Encantada and the "Amre Danhoroã" cave. Image by Ahmad Jarrah/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

Amércio Owedeiwawé is the chief of one of the villages closest to the future plantation. He defends the project because of the population's food insecurity. Image by Ahmad Jarrah/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

Secretary of Indigenous affairs of Campinápolis (MT), Epaminondas Conceição da Silva admits that the forest was removed without Ibama's approval, which is illegal. Image by Ahmad Jarrah/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.