Volume 10, Number 1 (2017)

Smallholders: Drivers or Targets of Amazonian Deforestation?

Ana Claudia R Braga and Alexandre C. Martensen

As the excitement from the Rio Olympics calms, and the world’s gaze turns elsewhere, the harsh realities of life for Brazilian environmentalists remain. In fact, more than forty environmental activists are murdered every year in Brazil, comprising almost 50% of all environmental activists murdered worldwide. The disproportionate murder rates tells us about a long history of smallholder and indigenous people’s land dispossession. As a result, smallholders and indigenous peoples must struggle to secure livelihoods, cope with pressures from land tenure insecurity and unequal land markets, which makes defending their lands against encroachment by large landowners, mining companies and logging operations ever more precarious.