Located 610 kilometers from Manaus, Labrea is a town with approximately 38,000 inhabitants and is situated in the so-called arc of deforestation (an area with the highest rates of deforestation of Brazil). Its territory is disputed by lumber companies, large soybean producers and ranchers. The municipality is crossed by highway BR-319. Because of this, the Federal Government has supported the creation of two extractive reserves in the municipality, within a mosaic of conservation units of more than nine million hectares, designed to minimize the environmental impacts of the expansion of the highway.
The struggle of communities of Lábrea for the creation and defence of Extractive Reserve (Resex) of middle Purus and Ituxi river (started in 2001) is the main front for the sustainable use of natural resources in the region. About 3,500 extractives were benefited by the establishment of extractive reserves in 2008, but to this day it remains vulnerable to loggers and land grabbers working in the region.
This situation puts the local leaders at great risk, because they are constantly threatened with death due to the defense of their territories. However, despite State and federal programs exist for the protection of human rights defenders, the local leaders are not included in the scheme. They are often in the target list of loggers and gunmen.
In June 2011, for example, the APADRIT Association released a note reporting that unknown people to the community would be exploring locations belonging to the RESEX of the Ituxi River near the Punicici River. Loggers would act primarily on the river Curequete, near the locality known as Cachoeira do Sao Paulo. According to APADRIT, such people would be behind death threats suffered by Antonio Valencia, community leadership of the Ituxi River Extractive Reserve.