Good News For Earth’s Lungs As Indigenous Amazon Group Wins Illegal Tree Logging Case
After a prolonged two decade long fight, Brazil’s Ashaninka indigenous Amazon community have won a federal court battle against illegal logging industries.
The Ashaninka people are to receive compensation of $3 million U.S dollars, and an apology from the tree-logging companies.
The companies have apologized “for all the ills caused,” and also conceded to the “the enormous importance of the Ashaninka people as guardians of the forest, zealous in the preservation of the environment.”
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According to a federal public prosecutor statement, the settlement was finalized April 1.
Tree logging businesses have destroyed thousands of mahogany, cedar and other species in the Kampa do Rio Amônia Indigenous Reserve.
It’s been going on since the 1980’s, when timber companies founded by the Cameli family illegally cut down mature trees from the Ashaninka ancestral land. The wood was imported to Europe for the furniture industry.
The $3 million won in court will be used directly toward protecting the Amazon forest and the Ashaninka community.
A small win for the Amazon, but hopefully a precedent-setting victory
The Amazon makes up more than 50 percent of the planet’s remaining rainforests and contains over 16 000 tree species.
Apart from logging, the Amazon faces huge threat through the deforestation as land is cleared for livestock, logging and mining.
Protection is often not enforced. And the slash-and-burn methods also lead to further destruction through runaway fires, which wrecked especially bad havoc in 2019.
More than 20 percent of the Amazon forest has already been destroyed.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for a pro-business approach at the expense of the environment. Nearly two thirds of the Amazon is situated in Brazil.
It is hoped that this ruling could serve as legal precedent for other indigenous groups involved in environmental lawsuits.
“What we did here was to comply with the Constitution. Understanding that the indigenous people have sacred rights guaranteed by the Magna Carta,” Augusto Aras, Brazil’s Attorney General, reportedly said in a statement.
“You have the right to have a decent life, materially speaking. To choose your own destiny, to take part in political decisions, with respect to isolated communities.”
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Featured Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao
Image Credits: Antonio Augusto/Secom/PGR