In 1990, the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, or Resex, in the Brazilian state of Acre introduced a brand-new model of alliance between non-indigenous traditional peoples and environmental preservation. But as it approaches its 30th anniversary, this reserve is experiencing its worst nightmare — one that could endanger its very model of existence.
The first alerts came in mid-2019, when satellites from the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) detected deforestation rates well above the usual in the area. The total for the year had already reached 74.5 square kilometers (28.7 square miles), three times more than the average in each of the past five years. (The latter figure was itself twice as high as registered before 2013, when the annual deforestation rate didn’t exceed 10 km² (3.8 mi²).