AVENER PRADO FOR "THE WORLD"
ReportageThis protected national reserve has been ravaged for years by volunteer fires and deforestation. In thirty years, "Bon Futur" has lost nearly three quarters of its original area, to the point of becoming one of the most endangered forests of Brazil.
And suddenly, at the merry jungle fury, there is a cemetery silence. For miles, the wetland has turned into russet sand. The charred palms rise like living dead. Here and there on the ground, black marks suggest the location of ancient trees, carried away by the flames. The few survivors lie on the ground, their trunk ending up burning in tropical humidity.
A fire is like a battlefield. Especially here, in the heart of the Amazon forest of Bom Futuro, in the north of the Brazilian state of Rondônia, where it is a war that is played. A war against the flames and some of the 68,000 fires that have ravaged the "lung" of the planet since the beginning of the year, almost all of human origin. A war with its scenes of destruction, its criminals, but also its wounded and dead: these thousands, millions of trees and hectares of nature ravaged, which no one dares to make the macabre count.
"Good Future". A sacred name for a forest without a future. This protected national reserve, created by the Brazilian state in 1988, had everything to succeed. Initially, it had 280,000 hectares of canopy, the heart of a much larger forest area whose territory extended well beyond the protected area. A whole delicate flora and fauna coexisted there: grandiose walnut trees of 50 meters, zogue zogue monkeys, collared peccaries, tapirs, spotted jaguars …
This tropical paradise has not endured: invaded, dismembered, destroyed by the flames, now surrounded by deforested sectors, Bom Futuro has lost in thirty years almost three quarters of its area. To the point of becoming, according to conservationists, one of the most endangered forests in Brazil.
" Far west "
How did we get here ? To understand, you have to get out of the jungle. Climb the slopes of Rondônia, the Brazilian state that has lost half of its forest cover in three decades. Along endless pastures, where thousands feed the nelores, these hunchbacked oxen with gray dress, prized by the breeders of the Amazon. Until suddenly, in the middle of nothing or almost nothing, a city rises: Rio Pardo. In Portuguese, "dark river". A sacred name, again, for the local capital of deforestation.