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In Pictures
Pitting preservation against destruction
 
The Amazon Rainforest covers five-and-a-half million square kilometres of the Amazon Basin of South America [GALLO/GETTY]
The region includes territory belong to nine nations [GALLO/GETTY]
But the majority - 60% - of the rainforest is in Brazil [EPA]
Although the bulk of the Amazon Basin is rainforest it also features seasonal forests, flooded forests, deciduous forests and savannas [EPA]
Brazil is home to one-third of the world's rainforests [GALLO/GETTY]
But according to the non-profit Rainforest Action Network, more than 20% of the original Amazon Rainforest has already disappeared [GALLO/GETTY]
And although the Brazilian government has in recent years sought to dramatically reduce the rate of Amazon deforestation, the destruction continues [GALLO/GETTY]
Over 6,000 square kilometres, which is more than half the size of Lebanon, was lost last year alone [GALLO/GETTY]
Where there was once virgin rainforest, the arrival of loggers, cattle ranchers and charcoal producers has led to the disappearance of much of it [EPA]
An economic dispute is raging between those who want to protect the rainforest and those who stand to profit from hacking it down [EPA]
It is a dispute that regularly turns violent, with at least 212 Amazonian activists being murdered since 1996. That is an average of 12 a year [GALLO/GETTY]
Human rights groups say hundreds of environmental activists in Brazil are living under the threat of assassination [GALLO/GETTY]
Two opposing models of economic development have been pitted against each other: preservation or destruction, long-term sustainability or a quick profit [EPA]
It is a clash of values, cultures and business models [EPA]
And it appears to be heavily related to the state of the Brazilian economy, for the decline in forestation witnessed from 1988 to 1991 coincided with a slowdown in Brazil's economy, while the greater rates of deforestation from 1993 to 1998 coincided with rapid economic growth [EPA]
The rapid advance of cattle ranching into the Amazon has helped Brazil become the world's second-largest producer of beef and its top exporter. Brazilian beef now stocks shelves in Europe, the Middle East and Russia [GALLO/GETTY]
But beef production is also the greatest driver of Amazon Rainforest destruction - after loggers have removed the most valuable trees, the ranchers move in, replacing the forest with pasture for cattle [EPA]
Large-scale cattle ranching may have helped bolster Brazil's current economic boom, but it goes against everything the rainforest defenders believe in [GALLO/GETTY]
But as activists try to present an alternative option - living from the forest without hurting it - they are encountering numerous obstacles [EPA]
Faced with financial hardship and little government support, some residents of the Amazon either sell their land to ranchers or allow the loggers to move in [EPA]
The practice of land-grabbers or 'grileiros' taking illegal possession of land - sometimes using forged documents and sometimes just force and intimidation - is also commonplace [GALLO/GETTY]
And in an area that is larger than the whole of Western Europe it can be difficult for Ibama (the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) officers to police illegal logging and violence [GALLO/GETTY]
Their officers sometimes have to travel with armed police for fear of encountering gunmen in a region many Brazilians call their country's Wild West: a land where gunslingers operate with almost total impunity [GALLO/GETTY]
But it is not only the residents and activists who suffer as a result of deforestation [EPA]
Loggers often work in terrible conditions, seven days a week, sometimes for months on end to cut down the forests [GALLO/GETTY]
And illegal logging is often not the only crime being committed. Between 2005 and 2010, Brazil's government freed nearly 18,000 modern-day slaves. These were impoverished migrant workers often forced to clear the rainforest in order to pay off debts with their employers [EPA]
The loggers are moving into ever more remote and isolated parts of the rainforest - areas where the rainforest defenders who were once there have already been killed and where others fear to venture [GALLO/GETTY]
The Catholic Church's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) has documented hundreds of cases of activists being killed since the 1980s [EPA]
And while some cases make the headlines, many more go unnoticed [EPA]
If deforestation continues at its current rate, according to Britaldo Soares-Filho of Brazil's Federal University of Minas Gerais, at least 100 native species could be endangered by the loss of their habitat [GALLO/GETTY]
And the economic and social implications for the people who live there could be the most severe of all [EPA]
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Pitting preservation against destruction /mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121143446833_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121510746734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926122354975580_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926122233692965_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121018210734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121331760580_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/201192612113445621_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121044741112_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/201192612475893954_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121759781580_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121247275734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121222790360_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926124732768621_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121841672580_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926122215911360_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121437980734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/201192612194485621_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121530637876_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926122331694734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926124751487734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121550482811_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121120554784_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/201192612125696738_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/201192612225221734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/201192612135697140_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926122422616734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121349557621_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926122314224884_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121739484734_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121718561580_8.jpg;*;/mritems/Images/2011/9/26/2011926121819656621_8.jpg The Amazon Rainforest covers five-and-a-half million square kilometres of the Amazon Basin of South America [GALLO/GETTY];*;The region includes territory belong to nine nations [GALLO/GETTY] ;*;But the majority - 60% - of the rainforest is in Brazil [EPA];*;Although the bulk of the Amazon Basin is rainforest it also features seasonal forests, flooded forests, deciduous forests and savannas [EPA];*;Brazil is home to one-third of the world(***)s rainforests [GALLO/GETTY];*;But according to the non-profit Rainforest Action Network, more than 20% of the original Amazon Rainforest has already disappeared [GALLO/GETTY];*;And although the Brazilian government has in recent years sought to dramatically reduce the rate of Amazon deforestation, the destruction continues [GALLO/GETTY];*;Over 6,000 square kilometres, which is more than half the size of Lebanon, was lost last year alone [GALLO/GETTY];*;Where there was once virgin rainforest, the arrival of loggers, cattle ranchers and charcoal producers has led to the disappearance of much of it [EPA];*;An economic dispute is raging between those who want to protect the rainforest and those who stand to profit from hacking it down [EPA];*;It is a dispute that regularly turns violent, with at least 212 Amazonian activists being murdered since 1996. That is an average of 12 a year [GALLO/GETTY];*;Human rights groups say hundreds of environmental activists in Brazil are living under the threat of assassination [GALLO/GETTY];*;Two opposing models of economic development have been pitted against each other: preservation or destruction, long-term sustainability or a quick profit [EPA];*;It is a clash of values, cultures and business models [EPA];*;And it appears to be heavily related to the state of the Brazilian economy, for the decline in forestation witnessed from 1988 to 1991 coincided with a slowdown in Brazil(***)s economy, while the greater rates of deforestation from 1993 to 1998 coincided with rapid economic growth [EPA];*;The rapid advance of cattle ranching into the Amazon has helped Brazil become the world(***)s second-largest producer of beef and its top exporter. Brazilian beef now stocks shelves in Europe, the Middle East and Russia [GALLO/GETTY];*;But beef production is also the greatest driver of Amazon Rainforest destruction - after loggers have removed the most valuable trees, the ranchers move in, replacing the forest with pasture for cattle [EPA];*;Large-scale cattle ranching may have helped bolster Brazil(***)s current economic boom, but it goes against everything the rainforest defenders believe in [GALLO/GETTY];*;But as activists try to present an alternative option - living from the forest without hurting it - they are encountering numerous obstacles [EPA];*;Faced with financial hardship and little government support, some residents of the Amazon either sell their land to ranchers or allow the loggers to move in [EPA];*;The practice of land-grabbers or (***)grileiros(***) taking illegal possession of land - sometimes using forged documents and sometimes just force and intimidation - is also commonplace [GALLO/GETTY];*;And in an area that is larger than the whole of Western Europe it can be difficult for Ibama (the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) officers to police illegal logging and violence [GALLO/GETTY];*;Their officers sometimes have to travel with armed police for fear of encountering gunmen in a region many Brazilians call their country(***)s Wild West: a land where gunslingers operate with almost total impunity [GALLO/GETTY];*;But it is not only the residents and activists who suffer as a result of deforestation [EPA];*;Loggers often work in terrible conditions, seven days a week, sometimes for months on end to cut down the forests [GALLO/GETTY];*;And illegal logging is often not the only crime being committed. Between 2005 and 2010, Brazil(***)s government freed nearly 18,000 modern-day slaves. These were impoverished migrant workers often forced to clear the rainforest in order to pay off debts with their employers [EPA];*;The loggers are moving into ever more remote and isolated parts of the rainforest - areas where the rainforest defenders who were once there have already been killed and where others fear to venture [GALLO/GETTY];*;The Catholic Church(***)s Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) has documented hundreds of cases of activists being killed since the 1980s [EPA];*;And while some cases make the headlines, many more go unnoticed [EPA];*;If deforestation continues at its current rate, according to Britaldo Soares-Filho of Brazil(***)s Federal University of Minas Gerais, at least 100 native species could be endangered by the loss of their habitat [GALLO/GETTY];*;And the economic and social implications for the people who live there could be the most severe of all [EPA] 0
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