How Brazil’s government is turning public land private

Regulation changes are essentially making land grabbing legal, clearing the way for deforestation — which broke new records in January 2022

How Brazil’s government is turning public land private
Photo: Diogo Lagroteria/Shutterstock

Imagine if a group of U.S. state legislators decided that Yellowstone National Park was too big. And then, imagine that they worked with federal politicians to change the law and downsize the park by a million acres — which are then sold off in a private auction.

Outrageous? Yes. Unheard of? Not exactly. In fact, it is a relatively common practice in Brazil’s Amazon.

Deforestation is the most widely publicized threat to the world’s largest rainforest. However, less well understood is that public lands are being converted into private holdings in a land grab we’ve been studying for the past...

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