Last update:

Timber Exploitation in Porto de Moz & Prainha, Brazil

Timber exploitation, often illegal, has triggered violent land related conflicts between communities and companies. Between August 2014 and January 2015, the State of Para has lost at least 571km².


The rural area of Porto de Moz hosts 125 communities, with some 20,000 residents. Over the past years, timber exploitation, often illegal, has triggered violent land related conflicts between communities and companies. The Madenorte group is one of the most important timber companies in the Porto de Moz area. According to a Comissao Pastoral da Terra (CPT) study, from 1985 to 2001, many local residents were murdered by actors working for illegal logging industries. Since 2000 communities from Porto de Moz and from the Prainha area ask for the creation of areas protected by law in order to defend their access to the land and protect the natural resources. In 2004, the Verde Para Sempre Reserve was created but this didn't prevent illegal logging from keep ongoing. Greenpeace and rainforest communities are still active trying to defend what remains of the Amazonian forest in those areas, demanding the government to enlarge its fight against the illegal loggers.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Timber Exploitation in Porto de Moz & Prainha, Brazil
State or province:State of Para
Location of conflict:Porto de Moz
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The State of Para represents the largest timber exporting area in the Amazon. In 2002 its total volumes of external trade reached US$ 312 million. The US is the main importer, receiving 40 percent of total exports. A Greenpeace study reveals that Para has lost at least 245,000 square km of tropical woods. Data shows that the Brazilian Amazon has the worlds highest deforestation rate, with 18,000 square km of forest disappearing every year. The demand of luxury timber is at the very heart of this forest destruction. Mahogany, for example, commands US$1,600 per cubic meter in the US.

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Grupo Campos from Brazil
Madenorte/Maraj Island Business from Brazil
Petróleo Brasileiro S.A (PETROBRAS) from Brazil
Porto de Moz Ltd. from Brazil
DLH Nordisk Timber Export Company from Denmark
Eidai Amazonian Export Company from Japan
Ihlo Sales and Import
Relevant government actors:IBAMA (Brazil's Federal Environment Agency), State Police
International and Finance InstitutionsOficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos (OACNUDH)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace, CPT (Comissao Pastoral da Terra) - Brazil, MDTX (Movement for the Development of the Transamazon and Xingu) - Brazil, MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) - Brazil, Indigenous and Peasant Communities of Porto de Moz Brazil
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:2002: Local communities gather to discuss the creation of a Natural Reserve (Reserva Verde para Sempre) of 1,3 million hectares, giving them the possibility to live peacefully in the Para forest and stopping the Madernote group using land for timber exploitation.
November 2004: The Lula Government accepts demands by indigenous residents and approves the constitution of the Verde para sempre Reserve in Porto de Moz.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Many indigenous communities living in the forest have been displaced from their land by illegal means such as falsified land titles, due to the lack of control by the authorities. According to Greenpeace, the State of Para has Brazils highest number of land related conflicts. Unfortunately, very few inquiries have been carried out to punish those responsible. Based on data released by the CPT, between 1985 and 2001, about 40 percent of 1,237 rural workers killed in Brazil were murdered in the State of Para, while a study of the Government of Para referred to just 804 victims. In 2002, the death toll increased by 50 percent over the previous year: half of the victims were killed in Para State.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Amazon's silent crisis, Greenpeace
[click to view]

Declaration for life in the forest, Porto de Moz and Prainha, Amazon, October 2003
[click to view]

Photo report, Deforestation in the Amazon, The Guardian
[click to view]

Amazon under siege, Greepeance, 2004
[click to view]

Conflitos Ambientais no Brasil, FASE, 2004.

Greenpeace faz protesto contra desmatamento em reserva extrativista, Meio Ambiente
[click to view]

[click to view]

Illegal logging and destruction continues in the Amazon, 24/11/2003
[click to view]

Info Amazonia
[click to view]

AMBIENTE: Incesante tráfico de madera amazónica a España, T. Drago
[click to view]

IBAMA MMA (Brazil's Federal Environment Agency)
[click to view]

Flotilla Assembly to demand an end to Amazon destruction, Greepeace, 4/04/2012
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update18/08/2019
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.