Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

Deforestion and land confict in Gleba Nova Olinda, Para, Brazil


This conflict pits timber traders and landowners against communities carrying out small scale extractive activities. In 2009, the conflict came to a head when people from over 40 indigenous and traditional communities, frustrated after more than a decade of failed negotiations with the state for territorial rights closed the Arapiuns River to logging traffic and sequestered two barges full of timber. The protestors blockaded the river for a month waiting for the state and federal governments to address the problem. At the end they set fire to the 2,000 cubic meters of wood on the barges. The fires blazed on for three days.[1] The Gleba Nova Olinda has a total area of about 87,000 hectares and is located in the municipality of Santarém, Pará state, Brazil. It is composed of state public land with a rich and abundant sociobiodiversity, being occupied by 14 communities (Sao Raimundo do Alto Arua, Sao Francisco, Novo Paraiso, Cachoeira do Arua, Gapo Açu, Sao Luís,Sociedade dos Parentes, Fe em Deus, Vista Alegre, Repartimento, Mariazinha), three of which are indigenous communities (Sao Jose III, Novo Lugar e Cachoeira do Maro) of the Borari people. Located in the area of influence of the BR-163 road, it is characterized by highly dynamic and violent processes due to the rapid formation of land and labor markets.

Thus, violence is used as a mechanism of land appropriation, the absence of the state works as an ordering vector of the process, causing rapid spread of conflicts related to the use and control of natural resources and the intensification of migratory flows.

Alongside the rapid occupation of the rural areas, there is also the growing urbanization of the region, with the growth of the cities of Santarém, Juriti and Itaituba, to where migratory flows are attracted by new economic opportunities (agribusiness, mining and services).

Since the 1990s, the Gleba Nova Olinda has undergone an intense environmental conflict, marked by violence, exclusion and disputes over land, forest resources and even symbolic struggles over the definition of the identity of traditional communities (remarkably among those who claim a Borari indigenous ancestry and those who deny the recognition of this distinction ethnic/cultural).

The expansion of monoculture of soybean is another process that has generated negative impacts on local communities. About 50 farmers, many of them from the southern region of the country, have rural properties in Glebe. These landowners expel villagers from these areas or prevent access to many areas that were previously considered the common property of communities. There are complaints that many properties are located in areas of public lands, acquired illegally with the intermediation of corrupt officials in the State. Many of these farms are located on the traditional territory of the Borari Indians, which creates conflicts with them. An employee of ITERPA was caught by IBAMA inspectors as an intermediary in land grabbing in the region and responsible for a scheme that would have illegally settled at least 120,000 hectares of land to farmers.

This conflict has led to violent actions of both parties, including death threats to community leaders, such as against the indigenous chief Crisomar dos Santos Costa in March 2013, and the destruction of timber companies assets (through pressure on state officials responsible for conducting studies in the region). For this reason, in recent years there have been an intensification of the actions of FUNAI and INCRA agents, and prosecutors interested in mediating the conflict in order to prevent the escalation of violence. The State Government, through ITERPA and IDEFLOR, also has performed actions in the region, as it has an interest in the definition of the limits of each community in order to liberate the land from farmland to grant public forest areas. Such a process would permit exploring these areas by private companies through competitive bidding.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Deforestion and land confict in Gleba Nova Olinda, Para, Brazil
State or province:Para
Location of conflict:Santarem
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Deforestation
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

,000 hectares of land has been given illegally to farmers and timber companies.

farmers of soybean monoculture are active in the region.

Project area:87000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:600
Start of the conflict:1999
Company names or state enterprises:Cooperativa dos produtores do Oeste do Para/Western Pará Rural Producers Cooperative (Cooepar) from Brazil
Rondobel Industria e Comercio de Madeira/Rondobel Insustry and Trade of Timber from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Land Institute of Para - ITERPA, Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural, Resources - IBAMA., State Department of Technology and Environment - SECTAM, Federal Public Ministry - MPF, Forestry Development of the State of Para - IDEFLOR, National Indian Foundation - FUNAI
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), Federation of Agricultural Workers (FETRAGRI), Rural Workers Unions (STR) of Western Pará (STR) Greenpeace

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Potential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Land demarcation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Indigenous communities demand the demarcation of their land in order to continue their traditional way of life. Other communities demand the implementation of policies that allow the extraction of the fruits of the forest in a sustainable way.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Borari Indians have had their traditional territory recognized, but the activities of logging and farmers persist causing environmental and social impacts in the region.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

IDEFLOR. Pre-annoucement of forest concessions Arapiuns Mamuru. Santarém, 19 mar. 2010. Available at:

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

MAP OF CONFLICTS INVOLVING ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE AND HEALTH IN BRAZIL. In Glebe Nova Olinda and surroundings, Borari People, peasants and bordering fight against landgrabbers, loggers and soybean farmers, who seek increasingly expelled them from their l

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE BORARI-ARAPIUN. Open letter to Margaret Sekaggya-UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human rights defenders. Blog Shap Tongue (Lingua Ferina), Santarem, 19 nov. 2010.

SAUER, Sergio e MACHADO, Diego D. Report of mission to Santarem: human rights violations in indigenous and quilombola communities in the Arapiuns River. Brasília: Brazil Dhesca Platform, 2010. 36 p.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

GREENPEACE Conflict in Pará awaits Government action. Sao Paulo, 21 mar. 2007. ,

MILANEZ, Felipe. Fear and tension in the West. Rolling Stone, Sao Paulo, ed. 49, 2010. ,

NOVAES, Thiago Valente. Pre-annoucement of forest concessions Mamuru-minutes of public hearing Arapiuns-Santarém-PA. IDEFLOR, Santarém, March 19, 2010. ,

PENA, Fabio. Federal Police investigating death of Cacique Crisomar Maro River. Combate ao Racismo Ambiental, 28 Mar. 2013.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network


Meta information

Contributor:Diogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014