The Brazilian Amazon is home to public lands that span an area the size of Spain — undesignated forests that are at growing risk of land grabbing encouraged by the state, according to a recent study by Greenpeace. These public forests, covering a combined 50 million hectares (124 million acres), are not designated for a specific use — unlike conservation units, Indigenous territories, or quilombola (Afro-descendant) settlements, for instance — which leaves them without protection. This allows land grabbers to invade them and stake a claim through the breaches left open by the government’s Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) — a self-declaratory system that some land rights and environmental activists accuse of legitimizing the illegal occupation of public lands. The practice has been exposed in the recent Greenpeace survey, which shows that 62% of public undesignated forest areas around a stretch of the BR-163 highway in Pará state were registered in the CAR system. Peppered around conservation units and Indigenous territories in the municipalities of Altamira, Novo Progresso and Itaituba, the total of 2,968 irregular CAR registrations account for an area of forest covering 965,367 hectares (2.3 million acres). “We wanted to understand the dynamics of a certain area, within the undesignated category, and [we chose one] with a history of land grabbing,” Greenpeace Brazil spokeswoman Cristiane Mazzetti told Mongabay. Location of the Greenpeace study area, in Pará state, which has a history of organized land grabbing schemes. It is also in the influence zone of the “Day of Fire”, when…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer