The uncontrolled forces of Globalization have brutally invaded the Amazon by challenging the natural habitat and damaging its most precious eco system. In the previous 3 decades, more than numerous people have lost their lives in land wars while there are countless numbers who are living in a state of fear and uncertainty. The life of natives is under serious and constant threat by the timber theft and that of land grabbers. It has become a Wild West frontier loaded with bulldozers, chain saws, and guns (Arezki and Selod 1–27). The government agents are normally ineffective and corrupt or in some cases not properly equipped. The situation has become more demised when soybean makers are joining hands with cattle ranchers and loggers in grabbing the Amazon land and causing irreparable destruction to the Brazilian wilderness (Novogratz n.page).
Almost 20% of the total Amazon rain forest has been destroyed within 40 years time, which is relatively increased since European colonization started about 450 years. This percentage could be much higher taking into consideration the selective logging in addition to damage caused by clear-cuts. It is estimated that nearly 20 % of the trees would lost their lives in the next 2 decades (Wallace n.page). This devastation was started with the construction of roads and main road together with east-west Trans-Amazon Highway and most controversial BR- 163 commonly known as Soy-Highway (Novogratz n.page). It is true to say that almost every road in Amazon is illegal and unauthorized. In Brazil, the events that started the logging are much more destructive than the logging itself. Once the roads have been built, it gave way to ranchers, farmers and other elements to start the destruction of Amazon on a new level. The land theft is committed under the cover of strong-arm tactics, corruption, and fraudulent titles. It is not possible to patrol thousands of square mile area by a handful of inspectors. However, the Brazilian government has decided to issue electronic logging certificates to reduce fraud. In addition, the satellite technologies and remote sensing equipment is due to be introduced to alert them in case of any suspicious activity (Arezki and Selod 1–27).
The Amazon land rush was started in 1970 when the policy of “integrar para nao entegar” was introduced by a Brazilian dictator. This phrase means that “Occupy it or risk losing it” The central axis of penetration was followed by the settlers, out of them many gave up or perished while other survived the harsh life and sustained through slash and burn farming. The poor who worked on the land were never given the title of ownership. The grantees were mostly absentee property owners and if they failed to use the land for farming their right of permanent ownership were due to be forfeited by the government. However, most of the grantees had done nothing instead of claiming their ownership over the occupied land. In the meanwhile, those squatters who were landless quickly moved into the adjacent lots (Novogratz n.page).
These circumstances led the way to the bloody cut down of the forest, specifically for agri-business and not for the family farmers who depend on the forest for their living (Börner and Wunder 496–511). What is happening in Amazon is a sort of clash between two models of development, consisting of government lawyers and land loggers to stop corruption, environmental crimes and land fraud. Blairo Maggi a 50-year-old resident who inherited a land from his father has spoken on the deforestation of Amazon and its dire consequences. "We are very responsible environmentally and socially. Everything we are doing is not up to the mark." According to Maggi soybean cultivation, has no adverse affects over the environment. On the contrary, it gives the soil what it needs to be more fertile (Oliveira n.page).
The unfettered land grabbing is going on in Amazon region, and most of the agents who are very much involved in this illegal act are related through one or other reason with the agro-extractive factors. On the other hand, individuals and foreign corporations play a pivotal role, as they are involved in putting huge investments in agribusiness and agricultural land. They are doing this continuously despite the restriction from the government being levied in 2010. According to these regulations, direct purchase of land is prohibited, and it only allows entering into partnership with Brazilians who are associated with agribusiness (Richard n.page). Despite the government's struggle to curtail the menace of deforestation and land grabbing, the deforestation and land grabbing have increased to an alarming level. At present, the foreign ownership of Brazilian land is calculated to be nearly 4 million hectares and this area amounts to .47% of the total area of Brazil. While the land under the joint ownership by Brazilian inhabitants and outsiders are difficult to calculate (Börner and Wunder 496–511). In spite of the multifaceted cross-territorial and multi-crop agriculture and its expansion, there is a huge difference between agribusiness expansion and those areas, which are targeted by the foreign investment (Richard n.page).
This resulted in a rise in land grabbing and destruction of rainforest. This particular aspect is so devastating that it has disturbed the whole eco system of the rain forest and destroyed its natural beauty. The reason for this expansion of agribusiness by the foreign investors is somehow linked with the policy of the Brazilian government. The history of Brazil is filled with cruel stories of genocides, colonization, and slavery, which resulted in the increased consolidation of regimes, related to private property and land grabbing. The country has expanded at a large pace, and the urbanization of rainforest particularly in the north region has devastated the eco system and created serious troubles for the local inhabitants and natural habitat. During a report published in year 2008, 53% of occupiers did not have clearly defined status regarding the property entitlement. There are cases of ownership, where an element of fraud and land grabbing was evident from the mere facts of the case. These lands were allocated without any legal authorization and in the absence of any demarcation regarding traditional community lands, legal homesteads or indigenous land. Moreover, the record of property in local registries throughout the Amazon is not harmonious with each other and with the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reforms. Not just this, but these records do not even match with the location of the real estate. Illegal logging, land grabs, and rural conflicts are rampant in this area, and the indigenous people and poor peasants are suffering more as the time passes (Wallace n.page).
This scenario was also seen in the history and was depicted in Alberto Rangel's Inferno Verde (1908) but the situation is still the same and keeps on aggravating with each passing day. Despite the concerns and efforts of the environmental protection activists to counter the menace of deforestation and the regulations of the state, the progress of extractive industries and instances of land grabbing has increased drastically (Wallace n.page). The environmental movements whether domestic or foreign have pressurized MPF to put a halt regarding issuance of environmental licenses to the logging industry by the federal environmental agency (IBAMA). The basic reason of doing so was first to consult the property titles at INCRA registry and after inspection of the location of the real state should renew or further issue the required license. However, this has increased complications in the registration process and caused unnecessary delay in issuance of environmental licenses (Börner et al. 1272–1282).
The land rush in Amazon is related with violence specifically the ranchers have forcibly vacated the land from Native Americans. The occurrence of Concepcion do Araguaia in Para is one of the several conflicts history has seen. Ambiguity and conflict have been prevailed over resources and ownership due to economic changes. The boom in the timber market and the introduction of the market value of land in Brumasa has given a path for undocumented and vague land possession. This trend is likely to flourish in relation with growing economy of the area. In addition to the reasons explained above, occupation flexibility also plays an important role in shifting of population from other parts into Brazil. Immigrants may stick to extraction during the economy boom and in times of economic depression, they indulge in fishing, agriculture and animal husbandry in order to survive in the harsh living conditions. Hence, during the bad time or when resources are not available these people start to grab the land and turn it for their own use. Apart from this, people living in Brazilian Amazon are very mobile. Male usually migrate in different localities to get a job and these migrations may amount to temporary or permanent one (Wallace n.page). This has allowed people to go to new places, find shelter and build new homes in the adjacent wilderness. For this purpose, they use every unfair mean and cause irreparable loss to the natural habitat by exploiting the water resources and cutting the rain forest (Scheidel and Alevgul 588–595).
It will be a surprise for most of us if someone says that capitalist property relationships will minimize the environmental degradation. Those who agree with this notion think that the destruction of the forest is the cost of progress and the course to progress should not be altered. In case of Amazon, the early exploiters were the international firms that belonged to mining and timber consortia. They mercilessly extracted the resources and used them for their own comfort and pleasure. Everything they left behind was just ruined, and there was not much left for the natives. Another argument associated with the previous one suggests that it is not necessary that exploiters normally belonged to international capitalist firms only but, on the contrary, it also included international markets. For instance, the North American fast food chain kept its price low by purchasing beef on a cheap rate from the animals raised in the cleared area of rain forest. There are various analyses, which propose that Amazon had been a victim of inappropriate technology. Peasants from outside Amazon implemented agricultural technologies that are not secure for the ecology of rain forest or its natural habitat. The issue of environmental degradation lies with the fact that we have failed to respect the nature and benefits we get through it. Since long, we have been draining the resources without pausing for a moment and think what sort of damage has been caused (Wallace n.page).
These explanations have no doubt given us some clue that what kind of steps should be taken in order to stop the further devastation and minimize the gravity of the situation. The solution to the environmental degradation and land grabbing lies in the control of population and increase the productivity of already cultivated the land. The faulty agricultural policies lead to the deforestation and land-grabbing at large scale. Brazil is a growing and capitalist economy, and it is a well-settled notion that foreign investment is relatively exempted from international or local regulations. This has served as the main cause of destruction. Multinational mining interests and firms associated with them are also playing their role in environmental degradation. The Trans-Amazon was introduced with a view to persuade settlers by showing the prospects of fertile land and vibrant opportunities for a better future (Scheidel and Alevgul 588–595). However, this scheme failed badly since the small farmers became the victims of furious disputes, and there was no other option to abandon the place as their lands were being captured through illegal means. Hence, the fate of Amazon has once again been left in the hands of capitalistic forces.
In order to conclude the above discussion, it may be stated that Amazon has suffered a lot by the national and international policies. Uncontrolled urbanization and invasion of natural habitat has done an irreparable loss to this part of the world. The regulations and reforms proposed or implemented but the concerned authorities have failed to produce desired results. Hence, this aspect aggravated the situation and considerably added miseries to the lives of natives. Moreover, land grabbing and other similar illegal ways to occupy land has curtailed the chances of progress and scattered seeds of insecurity among the inhabitants of Amazon.
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