Amazon Rainforest Plots are Being Illegally Sold on Facebook
OREANDA-NEWS. Tracts of Amazon rainforest are being illegally sold on Facebook, «BBC News» reports. Protected areas include national forests and lands assigned to indigenous peoples. Some of the plots sold on Facebook are up to the size of 1,000 football fields. The social network said, it was «ready to work with local authorities», but indicated it would not take independent action to stop the trade. The sellers of the plots claim, that the government of the country does not want to stop the sale.
Anyone can find illegally sold land by entering «forest», «native jungle» and «wood» in the Facebook Marketplace search tool, as well as selecting one of the Amazon areas as a location. Some of the lists contain satellite images and GPS coordinates. The sellers openly admit, that they have no ownership of the Land.
«BBC News» arranged a meeting between four salesmen and an undercover agent posing as a lawyer, allegedly representing the interests of wealthy investors. One man, named as Alvim Souza Alves, tried to sell a plot in the local nature Reserve «Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau» for about 16,400 pounds in local currency. It is home to a community of over 200 Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau Indians. At least five other groups of Indians, who have no contact with the outside world, also live in this territory. But at the meeting, Alves said: «There are no Indians there. They are 50 km away from where my land is located».
Another factor stimulating the illegal market for the sale of forest land is the expectation of an amnesty. The conventional strategy is to cut down the forests and then ask the Government to revoke the protected status of the area on the grounds, that it no longer serves it's original purpose. Then the land sellers can officially buy the plots from the government, thereby legalizing their claims.
For it's part, the social network Facebook claims, that trying to determine which sales are illegal would be too much of a challenge for it. It gives responsibility for the purity of transactions to the local judicial system and other authorities. The question of stopping the sale of Amazon forest land remains open.