Energy & Environment

Parcels of Brazilian rainforest listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace: report

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Parcels of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are illegally being listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace, a BBC report found.

The listings are found on Facebook’s classified ad service, where people are illegally selling plots of land in indigenous communities and land that is bigger than 1,000 football pitches, according to the BBC.

The BBC found one seller, Fabricio Guimarães, who was secretly filmed illegally selling land. He said there was “no risk of an inspection by state agents here” and was selling a plot for $35,000.

Another seller who was trying to sell land on the Uru Eu Wau Wau indigenous reserve claimed there were no natives on the land. 

“I don’t know these people. I think their objective is to deforest the indigenous land, to deforest what is standing. To deforest our lives, you could say,” community leader Bitaté Uru Eu Wau Wau told the BBC.

Facebook will not stop the trade on its own but they will “work with local authorities” on the matter. 

“Our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations,” Facebook told the BBC.

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has been a major concern for environmentalists as many trees have been cut down to make room for farming.

Plots from the Amazon rainforest are legally sold by sellers by first illegally deforesting the land and then telling the government it should lose its protected status. Once the protected status is gone, the sellers buy the land and sell it off, the BBC reported.

Brazil’s minister of the environment, Ricardo Salles, told the BBC that law enforcement in the Amazon has gone down due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, President Jair Bolsonaro says he does not tolerate environmental crimes.

“This year the government has created operation Verde Brasil 2, which seeks to control illegal deforestation, illegal fires, and to join efforts between the federal government and the states,” Salles said. 

The Hill has reached out to Facebook for comment. 

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