The Seja Legal com a Amazônia campaign is a joint initiative by representatives of agribusiness, companies and non-governmental organizations defending the environment to combat the theft of public lands in the region. This criminal practice is one of the main causes of illegal deforestation, violence, corruption and economic backwardness in the Amazon.

Therefore, the campaign seeks to raise awareness among the population and especially decision makers about this type of illegal activity and ask for support for the necessary measures to put an end to it.

Land grabbing in the Amazon
is bad deal for Brazil

Half of the deforestation in the Amazon between 2019 and 2021 occurred on public lands. The actions of land grabbers generate deforestation, violence and corruption in the Amazon, resulting in the destruction of Brazil’s natural wealth and intimidating good businesspeople and rural producers who would like to invest in legal alternatives in the region.

Undesignated Public Forests in the Amazon occupy 57.5 million hectares, more than the area of Spain. By law, these lands must remain public forests, intended for conservation, indigenous occupation or sustainable use of their resources, especially by original and traditional populations.


These are lands that belong to all of us, Brazilians, and that today are the target of criminal organizations interested in stealing our natural patrimony.

The situation is urgent. Therefore, Seja Legal com a Amazônia joined several organizations to generate knowledge and motivate public agents, mobilizing the private sector and civil society about the allocation of undesignated public lands in the Amazon.
Based on information from IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute), UFPA (Federal University of Pará), Abrampa (Brazilian Association of Members of the Public Ministry of the Environment) and MPF (Federal Public Ministry), the campaign develops opportunities to guide investors and commodity markets regarding the risks of illegality and deforestation involving their productive activities, and means for identifying illegal lands in the Amazon.

Our vision highlights the interconnection between the country’s environmental and economic sustainability. The effective resolution of land grabbing is crucial to attracting foreign investment, ensuring the integrity of our public forests and positioning Brazil as a proactive participant in the international carbon credits market. By allocating these areas, we protect the environment and open new doors for jobs and income, promoting a prosperous future for Brazil.


There is a risk of misinformed investors allocating resources to projects irregularly established on Undesignated Public Forest lands in the Amazon. For Brazil to prosper, it is necessary to clean up the money chain that feeds land grabbing. With guidance and knowledge, everyone involved in financial operations around agribusiness can invest their capital more safely and with benefits for everyone.

Well informed, the market can help finance the solution to the climate emergency. It is increasingly evident that simply reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to contain global warming. An efficient approach must include large-scale carbon capture, and among the various scientific efforts to achieve this goal, forest regeneration stands out as an effective and economically viable solution.

In this context, the Amazon emerges as a crucial opportunity for both Brazil and the rest of the world, playing a fundamental role as a “carbon capturer”. With this, we can take advantage of our huge stock of public forests and land available for regeneration. The Amazon can, with knowledge and capital, become one of the great solutions to the global climate emergency.


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It brings violence and crime to the region

Organized crime that works by deforesting the Amazon acts violently, corruptly and often with the support of some politicians or state agents co-opted through bribery. There are disputes between land grabbers, farmers and historic occupants, which in many cases causes an armed dispute over the territory.

It does not generate development or economic benefits

The money that comes from land grabbing and illegal deforestation is concentrated in the hands of a few, as a result of criminal activity. More than 20% of the Amazon has already been destroyed and this has not generated wealth for most of the region’s people. In 2017 the ten cities with largest rates of deforestation in the Amazon region were also among the poorest in Brazil.

It removes legal investments and harms the producers

Agribusiness is being hampered by illegal gangs that tarnish the industry’s reputation, increasing legal uncertainty and generating unfair competition for producers and companies. The presence of criminals in the Amazon drives away businessmen, investors and producers complying with the law.
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The area that will be targeted for criminal action is chosen: An area normally located on non-designated public land is selected for criminal action. Conservation units and indigenous lands (which are designated public lands) may also be targets of these groups.

Deforestation and Burning: Groups are hired to clear the chosen land by replacing the forest with pasture. Burning is common at this stage. The idea is to simulate a private property dedicated to livestock. The cost of this process can reach 240 thousands of dollars for an area of one thousand hectares.

Corruption and forged property titles: When the invaded area has been completely devastated, the gang seeks to forge titles to speculate the land. This action is only possible through the payment of bribes and corruption in notary’s offices and other government agencies.

Increased Violence and Crime: It is common for different interest groups to dispute these lands raising the rates of crime and violence in nearby cities and settlements. In case of invasion of indigenous lands the conflict is imminent.

Sale of Public Land and Millionaire Gains: With fake title deeds, huge areas that actually belong to Brazilians are exploited and sold for millions of dollars in a large corruption scheme that benefits a small group to the detriment of every nation’s interests.

Amnesty: It is common that from time to time the National Congress and the states of the Amazon region edit or modify their legislation to legalize those who invaded public lands. This type of practice creates new incentives for land grabbing, and generates billions of losses to public coffers.

Result: Environmental conservation areas, indigenous lands, or undeveloped lands that house the Amazon Rainforest are stolen and sold by organized crime, contributing to the destruction of our natural heritage.


  1. That the prosecutors of the Federal Public Ministry who work in the Legal Amazon have more structure and support to act against land grabbing;
  2. That the country’s current conservation units and indigenous lands be maintained. And that non-designated federal public forests are designated as areas of sustainable use or conservation;
  3. That the governors of the Legal Amazon take measures to repress encroachments on State Forests, reinforce the inspection carried out by the police and state environmental agencies. And also that the governors promote the designation for purposes of conservation and sustainable use of public land under their command and that are not yet destined.





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