The National Digest

Amazon Fires: This Is How The Million Dollar Business Of Criminal Deforestation Works

APUÍ, Brazil — A vigorous and incredibly lucrative trade in land for livestock is fueling the fires that have devastated that Amazon and caused an international outcry.

BuzzFeed News toured one of the areas worst affected by fires in the Amazon and found that, according to farmers, one hectare of land cleared for cattle is exchanging hands for 20 times the price of the same area with standing forest.

In the municipality of Apuí, in Amazonas state, a bushel of pasture land, around 2.5 hectares, can be worth up to 10,000 Brazilian reals (about $2,390) if it’s close to a highway with access to water, while forested land goes for only around 500 Brazilian reals (about $120). Many of these deals are conducted illegally.

Apuí has witnessed more than 2,000 blazes in 2019. It also has one of the largest cattle populations in the state of Amazonas, with 8 oxen per human inhabitants. That has attracted ranchers from out of state.

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