Brazil: Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency, the Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA) busted an illegal logging ring following analysis of satellite imagery, reported Globo. The analysis showed that illegal loggers managed to clear more than 400 hectares of Amazon rainforest in southeast Pará.
During this action, IBAMA officers confiscated some loggers. They fined them USD 1.2 million for environmental crimes. Based on the equipment found, IBAMA believed that the perpetrators planned to high-grade and then clear-cut at least a thousand hectares of primary forest for cattle pasture.
Luciano Silva, the coordinator of this IBAMA operation, explained that after the forest has been cleared by workers and converted to pasture, large landholders, known as fazendeiros, will often petition the local Environmental Rural Register (CAR) and attempt to legalize their claims to the newly deforested land. Legally, if the connection between the fazendeiro and the workers clearing land can be proven, he can be fined USD 3100 for each hectare of destroyed forest as an accomplice to environmental crime. Such proof is rarely forthcoming, thus those providing the impetus for deforestation are usually not held responsible.