Research & Publications

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

This essay takes a (green) criminological and multidisciplinary perspective on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, by focusing on the crimes and damages that are associated with Amazonian deforestation. The analysis and results are partly based on longer ethnographic stays in North Brazil (Amazon region). If focuses on the human victimization of deforestation such as violence against forest inhabitants, which is usually committed by large landholders (e.g., cattle and soy farmers, timber traders) or their henchmen. Ultimately, deforestation also leads to the disappearance of communities and traditional lifestyles. This essay takes a more sociological and political science perspective on the question of why (illegal) Amazonia is accompanied by so much deforestation-related crime and violence, and on the question as to how and why Amazonian deforestation has arrived on the political agenda. The prolonged drought of 2014 and 2015 in populous southern Brazil seems to change the Brazilian debate and discourse with regard to deforestation and development.

You can read the article via this link.

Deforestation and criminality in the Brazilian Amazon

Summary will follow soon.

This article appeared in Cahiers Politiestudies and is only available in Dutch. You can read the article via this link.

Researching Illegal Logging and Deforestation

Tropical deforestation such as in the Amazon can be studied well from a green criminological perspective. Ethnographic research methods form a useful way to get insight into the dynamics and complexity of tropical deforestation, which often is illegal. This article gives an account of various ethnographic visits to the rainforests of the Amazon in the period 2003‐ 2014. Ethnographic methods provide insight into the overlap between the legal and illegal, the functioning (or not) of state institutions, the power of (corporate) lobbies, and why tropical deforestation correlates with crimes such as corruption and violence. The use of ethnographic methods in forest areas where trustworthy state actors and institutions are not very present can also present danger and raise ethical issues (such as when the researcher, for reasons of safety, does not present as a criminological researcher). However, a large advantage of ethnographic visits to tropical rainforests is that they allow the gathering of local views and voices, which rarely reach the international level. These local views lead to interesting contradictions at the international level where corporate views and lobbies dominate.

This article appeared in the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy. You can read the article via this link.

Deforestation Crimes and Conflicts in the Amazon

This article explores and explains deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. It primarily takes a green criminological perspective and looks at the harm that is inflicted on many of the Amazon’s inhabitants, including indigenous populations such as ‘uncontacted’ tribes of hunters-gatherers, the oldest human societies. The green criminological perspective also implies that the definition of victimisation is being enlarged: not only (future) humans, but also non-humans can be considered victims. Being the most biodiverse place on the planet, deforestation of the Amazon leads to threats and extinctions of animal and plant species. The main causes of deforestation in the Amazon are land conversion for agriculture (mainly cattle, also soy), practices that are mostly illegal. As the products of the (illegally) deforested rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon are mainly for export markets, western societies with large ecological footprints could be held responsible for deforestation of the Amazon.

You can read the article via this link.