Photos: Brazil’s Amazon forest agents fight illegal loggers, fires

Following the construction of the trans-amazon highway, the small town of Apui in the Amazon has seen a spike in deforestation due to a surge in illegal logging and forest fires as Brazil's enviroment agencies fight for its preservation.

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST 10 Photos
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The small town of Apui sits at the new front-line of Brazil’s fight against advancing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest where vast fires belch jet black smoke visible for miles while loggers denude the jungle. According to PRODES (Programa Despoluição de Bacias Hidrográficas or Basin Restoration Program) roughly 7,989 square kilometres of forest were destroyed in 2016, a 29% increase over the previous year. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

The small town of Apui sits at the new front-line of Brazil’s fight against advancing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest where vast fires belch jet black smoke visible for miles while loggers denude the jungle. According to PRODES (Programa Despoluição de Bacias Hidrográficas or Basin Restoration Program) roughly 7,989 square kilometres of forest were destroyed in 2016, a 29% increase over the previous year. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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A coach drives along the Trans- Amazon Highway as it passes through deforested and burnt land during ‘Operation Green Wave’ conducted by agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama to combat illegal logging in Apui, Brazil. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

A coach drives along the Trans- Amazon Highway as it passes through deforested and burnt land during ‘Operation Green Wave’ conducted by agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama to combat illegal logging in Apui, Brazil. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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Home to nearly 21,000 people in southern Amazonas state, the region was long protected by its remote location from illegal loggers --ranchers and farmers who clear the forest. Following the construction of the trans-amazon Highway, the area has witnessed a surge in people moving in from bordering states who have been actively involved in destroying the jungle. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

Home to nearly 21,000 people in southern Amazonas state, the region was long protected by its remote location from illegal loggers --ranchers and farmers who clear the forest. Following the construction of the trans-amazon Highway, the area has witnessed a surge in people moving in from bordering states who have been actively involved in destroying the jungle. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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Agent Jaime Pereira da Costa, who is coordinating the effort to stem the destruction said that Apui is witnessing the same pattern of deforestation that has been witnessed elsewhere in the Amazon for decades. Loggers are looking for new land to exploit as they try to dodge the government’s armed environmental protection agents carrying out ‘Operation Green Wave’, the latest effort to tamp down spikes in ruination of the rainforest. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

Agent Jaime Pereira da Costa, who is coordinating the effort to stem the destruction said that Apui is witnessing the same pattern of deforestation that has been witnessed elsewhere in the Amazon for decades. Loggers are looking for new land to exploit as they try to dodge the government’s armed environmental protection agents carrying out ‘Operation Green Wave’, the latest effort to tamp down spikes in ruination of the rainforest. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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First come the loggers who illegally extract valued lumber often sold in far-off cities. The cattle ranchers follow, burning the forest to clear land and plant green pasture that rapidly grows in the tropical heat and rain. After the pasture is worn out, soy farmers arrive, planting grain on these immense tracts of land. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

First come the loggers who illegally extract valued lumber often sold in far-off cities. The cattle ranchers follow, burning the forest to clear land and plant green pasture that rapidly grows in the tropical heat and rain. After the pasture is worn out, soy farmers arrive, planting grain on these immense tracts of land. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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The destruction of the forest by illegal loggers compounds the region’s susceptibility to forest fires. According to the environment ministry, Apui ranked first in the country for forest fires in the first week of August. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

The destruction of the forest by illegal loggers compounds the region’s susceptibility to forest fires. According to the environment ministry, Apui ranked first in the country for forest fires in the first week of August. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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At their best the environmental agents can slow but cannot stop the destruction.The agents raid illegal logging camps, levy large fines that are rarely collected and confiscate chainsaws to temporarily impede the cutting. As soon as agents arrive at camps, the loggers disappear by running into the forest. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

At their best the environmental agents can slow but cannot stop the destruction.The agents raid illegal logging camps, levy large fines that are rarely collected and confiscate chainsaws to temporarily impede the cutting. As soon as agents arrive at camps, the loggers disappear by running into the forest. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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An aerial view shows deforested land in Apui, Brazil. Agent Costa acknowledges that the 1,300 environmental field agents who police a jungle area the size of western Europe have a difficult task ahead. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

An aerial view shows deforested land in Apui, Brazil. Agent Costa acknowledges that the 1,300 environmental field agents who police a jungle area the size of western Europe have a difficult task ahead. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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A man poses for a photograph at an illegal gold mine in Apui, Brazil. Trusting that every effort will help to save rainforest, environment minister José Sarney Filho is looking to the next full PRODES data report, due in November to reflect a decline in deforestation. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

A man poses for a photograph at an illegal gold mine in Apui, Brazil. Trusting that every effort will help to save rainforest, environment minister José Sarney Filho is looking to the next full PRODES data report, due in November to reflect a decline in deforestation. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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Without providing details, Filho said this week that the preliminary data showed a drop from last year. ‘Everything indicates that the curve is falling. We’re optimistic’, he said. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

Without providing details, Filho said this week that the preliminary data showed a drop from last year. ‘Everything indicates that the curve is falling. We’re optimistic’, he said. (Bruno Kelly/REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 11:29 AM IST
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