Good News for Earth’s Lungs as Indigenous Amazon Group Wins Illegal Tree Logging Case

The Amazon rainforests are the lungs of our planet, but although most of us are familiar with this fact the deforestation still continues. However, the indigenous people of Amazon decided to fight back and after an extensive two decade fight, the Brazil’s Ashaninka indigenous Amazon community had won.

On April 1 the federal public prosecutor has finalized the settlement at a federal court. The tree-logging companies should pay out a compensation of $3 million to the Ashaninka people and also apologize for the great harms they have done to the forests of this community.

The won settlement in court will be properly used toward protecting the Amazon forest and the Ashaninka community.

In the official statements the logging industries have apologized “for all the ills caused,” and as well as conceded to the “the enormous importance of the Ashaninka people as guardians of the forest, zealous in the preservation of the environment.”

Tree cutting started form 1980 and in the next decades thousands of mahogany, cedar and other species in the Kampa do Rio Amônia Indigenous Reserve were destroyed. The wood from these species was used for the furniture industry imported by Europe.

In the eighties timber companies founded by the Cameli family illegally started cutting down mature trees from this community causing devastating side effects to the environment and to the people living in this area.

This battle has been won by the Ashaninka people, but there are still more to win if we want to protect the rainforests of Amazon. This area in the world covers over 50% of the planet’s remaining rainforests and in it thrive more than 16 000 tree species.

However, the logging is not the only deforestation issue that Amazon faces at the moment; there is also a great threat of deforestation due to clearing land for livestock and mining. Since there is no solid protection of the forests the slash-and-burn methods are used which caused great destruction through runaway fires, particularly the ones going on in 2019. Due to these actions over 20% of the Amazon forest has already been destroyed.

Brazil covers the largest area of Amazon, two thirds of it, and because of that their current president Jair Bolsonaro has been severely criticized for a pro-business approach at the expense of the environment.

This court ruling in favor of the indigenous people of Amazon could be an initiative for other indigenous groups to fight for their ancestral land and thus protect the environment. The environmental lawsuits could be a way to save the rainforest in Amazon.

Augusto Aras, Brazil’s Attorney General, stated:

“What we did here was to comply with the Constitution. Understanding that the indigenous people have sacred rights guaranteed by the Magna Carta.  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.”