Fighting illegal logging in the Amazon
The Amazon rainforest absorbs about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. Agents at the Brazilian environment institute are trying to protect the green lungs of the Earth - but money shortages threaten their work.
Tropical rainforest in the Amazon covers almost twice as much land as India. Three-quarters of it is located in Brazil. These green lungs of the Earth are threatened by illegal logging and mining.
Together with the military police, agents of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) hunt for illegal loggers, trying to catch them in action. In this photo, an IBAMA agent is targeting a logging truck.
IBAMA goes head-on against illegal loggers. Whoever is caught feels the iron fist of the authorities - like those above, near the city of Novo Progresso in the state of Pará. The wood was burned on site - together with the trucks.
The forest protection work carries high risk, as many illegal loggers are armed. In June, a policeman was shot dead.
In this case, IBAMA agents were successful. But such success is becoming less frequent. The economic crisis has also affected the environmental agency, and its funding has been reduced by about a third over recent years.
The loss of funding has consequences: "The loggers are better equipped than us," said Uiratan Barroso, representative of the state of Para. "As long as we lack money for unmarked vehicles and acceptable radios, we cannot carry out our work properly."
From 2004 and 2012, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon decreased by 80 percent. But over the last four years, it has increased by 35 percent. In 2015, a forest area four times larger than Los Angeles was cleared.
Support from Germany and Norway
The Brazilian government admits that IBAMA is poorly equipped to carry out its tasks. The Amazon Fund, aimed at raising donations to combat deforestation, will provide 56 million reais (around 15 million euros) to help improve the situation. The money is coming mainly from Germany and Norway.