Antônio Martins da Costa lives on the banks of the Azul river, inside the Serra do Divisor National Park, a protected area in the far-western Brazilian state of Acre. Costa supports himself through fishing, a small corn and rice plantation, and raising chickens and ducks. The rest he takes to market in Mâncio Lima, the nearest city, which is a nine-hour boat ride away from his community, Belo Horizonte. On one of these trips, he learned about a project to build a road inside the park. “Nobody came to talk to us about it,” he says.
Today, the highway, BR-364, is already about 4,000 kilometres long, connecting the southern state of São Paulo with the state of Acre, on the border with Peru. Both the federal and state governments intend to extend it a further 230 km to connect Juruá in western Acre to Pucallpa, in Peru. In doing so, the road would cut 20 km into the Serra do Divisor park, home to isolated indigenous peoples and some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet.