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Amazon rainforest plots being sold illegally via Facebook

Amazon rainforest plots being sold illegally via Facebook

Parts of the Amazon Rainforest, known as the lungs of the planet, are being sold illegally via Facebook, the BBC undercover investigations have found.

According to the report published in BBC, the plots listed through the Facebook classified ads are as large as 1000 football pitches and the listing features include satellite images and GPS coordinates.

Some of the plots are located in protected areas for use by indigenous rainforest communities. Most of the ads came from Rondônia which is the most deforested state in Brazil's rainforest region.

Amazon Rainforest is the most biodiverse region on earth, providing shelter to three million species on plants and animals, slowing down climate change and also produces 20 per cent of earth's oxygen.

"The land invaders feel very empowered to the point that they are not ashamed of going on Facebook to make illegal land deals," said Ivaneide Bandeira, head of environmental NGO Kanindé.

The land grabbers burn down large patches of the forest which are made easier by the lack of inspection by state agents in the area. Once the land is cleared, they take photos of the cleared land and post them online with marked-up prices to sell to wealthy buyers.

Facebook however has responded that it was ready to work with local authorities but will not take any independent action as it does not appear to see the issue being critical enough to warrant halting all Marketplace land sales across Amazon.

The plots on sale can be found by typing search terms like "forest", "native jungle" and "timber" into Facebook Marketplace's search tool and choosing one of the Amazonian states as the location.

"This is a lack of respect…I don't know these people. I think their objective is to deforest the indigenous land, to deforest what is standing. To deforest our lives, you could say," Community leader Bitate Uru Eu Wau Wau told BBC.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is at a 10-year high but the investigation has revealed the reckless selling of the planet's crucial and most biodiverse region for mere profits.

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