In the 1960s the large-scale deforestation of the Amazon Basin became a priority for the government of Brazil. This was bad news for Native Americans and rubber tappers, who lived in and from the jungle. Chico Mendes organised blockades to prevent deforestations. Soon he became an internationally recognised figure. Following the concept elaborated by Mendes, the first extractive reserve, a protected area where only sustainable activities are allowed, was established. But not everyone was happy about these achievements. Mendes received death threats and was assassinated in 1988. Mendes showed that the rainforest is able to provide livelihoods for millions of people, provided that it is not cleared for a few thousand ranchers and speculators. Unfortunately, the clearcutting of the jungle continues in Amazonia, where the fight for the forest is as dangerous as it was in Mendes’ time.
KeywordsTropical rainforest Rubber tappers Deforestation Amazonia Marginalised people
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