Image: Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus pygmeus) and her baby in Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum national parks' corridor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Credit: © WWF-Indonesia/Jimmy Syahirsyah

Control of land and natural resources 2020

If TIAA’s Roger Ferguson wants to be Treasury Secretary, he should fix his farmland problem Jim Goodman, Jason Jarvis, and Doug Hertzler ActionAid USA November 20, 2020
When Altamiran Ribeiro, a Black community leader with the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Land Commission in northeast Brazil came to Washington, he hoped to meet with DC resident Roger Ferguson, the CEO of the financial firm TIAA. Ribeiro wanted to explain to him what had happened to communities when TIAA bought a large tract of land in the state of Piaui from a notorious land grabber who had seized community forests and pastures. He wanted to tell Ferguson about the fires and deforestation TIAA was funding in the Cerrado region and how their large-scale soybean plantations on the high plateaus were depleting and polluting the water sources of the communities in the valleys. But through his corporate secretary, Ferguson declined to meet with Ribeiro.

Barbarians at the barn: private equity sinks its teeth into agriculture Grain September 29 2020
Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalized – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down. Who is involved? Where is the money going? How do these funds pay off for the financial players and for local communities? These are some of the questions we set out to get answers to, in order to better understand capital flows and who is influencing the direction of agriculture today.

In the Amazon, the coronavirus fuels an illegal gold rush — and an environmental crisis Terrence McCoy and Heloísa Traiano Washington Post September 4, 2020

Massacre in the Amazon Jesse Hyde Vanity Fair April 20, 2020
Jane de Oliveira set out to protect the world’s largest rain forest from the corporate interests that are burning it to the ground. Then the armed men showed up.

Conflicts over indigenous land grow more violent in Central America Alexander Villegas and Frances Robles New York Times March 9, 2020
Faced with government inaction, some activists try to reclaim ancestral lands on their own. Often, they pay a high price.

Biggest food brands ‘failing goals to banish palm oil deforestation’ Fiona Harvey The Guardian January 16, 2020
Palm oil: WWF name and shame top global buyers Oliver Balch The Guardian January 28, 2020
Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard (Summary) World Wildlife Fund January 2020

Image: Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus pygmeus) and her baby in Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum national parks’ corridor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Credit: © WWF-Indonesia/Jimmy Syahirsyah

Land Matrix , an independent land monitoring intitiative, has useful information on large scale land acquisitions including an interactive map of large land deals and country profiles.

Mexican butterfly conservationist is found dead, two weeks after vanishing Kirk Semple and Paulina Villegas New York Times January 29, 2020

How the environmental lawyer who won a massive judgement against Chevron lost everything Sharon Lerner The Intercept January 29, 2020

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