Mapping environmental crime seen as key to slowing Amazon forest losses

Published in Reuters

With Ilona Szabó

BRASILIA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A share of the cattle supplied to Brazil’s markets are fattened on illegally deforested Amazon land. To conceal that fact from buyers, the animals often are passed through many hands and holdings before being sold, Brazilian researchers said.

That process of “regularizing” beef makes it hard for buyers to ensure their supply chains are deforestation-free – one reason widespread forest loss continues, researchers said in a study looking at how environmental crimes in the Amazon basin are often inter-related.

To disrupt the activities of such networks, and prevent illegally sourced products flooding global markets, making the connections clear is vital, said Ilona Szabó, executive director of the Igarapé Institute, a Brazilian think-think that published the study this week.

“This includes shining a light not just on crime groups and shady business but also the corrupt government officials – including police, notary clerks, customs officials, and politicians – who facilitate the business,” Szabó said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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