Brazil, a country marked by a highly contested rural landscape that has pit traditional communities—quilombolas, indigenous people, and small-scale farmers—against capital investment. Too often, the result is violence.
In fact, according to Global Witness, 2015 was the worst year on record for the murder of land and the environmental defenders across the globe. Of the 185 deaths counted worldwide, Brazil accounted for the most with 50 lives lost last year, a number almost double that reported in 2014. Most murders in Brazil took place in the northern states of Maranhão, Pará, and Rondônia; most deaths were attributed to plantations or large ranches on land that has been claimed by rural communities.