Environmental and human rights activist, Rosane Santiago Silveira tortured and murdered in Brazil

Source: Rede Brasil Atual

13 February 2019

Environmental and human rights activist, Rosane Santiago Silveira was brutally tortured and murdered in the city of Nova Viçosa (Bahia) on January 29. She was active in stopping land-grabbing by eucalyptus plantations in the Extractive Environmental Reserve of Ilha de Barra Velha.

The Extractive Reserve is a protected area where resident families make their living off natural products extracted from the forest. These activities help maintain the forest integrity.

According to Silveira’s son, Tuian Santiago Cerqueira, Rosane had received death threats.

“Unfortunately, today there is a feeling of total insecurity, because of the State’s absence in prosecuting these crimes. We were with her at Christmas, and everyone realised that she was worried and now we know that she had received three death threats,” her son Tuian said to Rádio Brasil Atual.

Rosane Santiago Silveira lived 18 years in Nova Viçosa, struggling to create an association to protect the island of Barra Velha – an extractive environmental reserve, and was a member of the Cassurubá Extractivist Reserve Council.

Eucalyptus plantation in Bahia. Photo: Petermann

“The land where she lived was in the reserve, and she struggled to prevent the advancing of the eucalyptus plantations,” explained Tuian.

According to her son, Rose was found dead in her house, with hands and feet tied and wounded, a cloth around the neck and  stab wounds and gunshots at the head. “I saw at the body, it was a torture scene, she was stabbed, tied with signs of fighting, and a shot from behind,” he said.

According to Tuian, the death of Rosane created a climate of terror in the city. “Everybody is scared. My mother was cheerful, she had a good relationship with people, despite being strong in the fights, she was always friendly and kind to the people,” he said.

Rose joins dozens of environmental activists murdered each year in Brazil. In 2016 and 2017, the country ranked second in the number of murders of environmental activists, according to British NGO Global Witness, which reported 57 executions in 2017.

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

The Role of Eucalyptus in Brazil comes under the Crosshairs of the International Anti-Transgenic Tree Network (June 2, 2023)

Impact of monoculture in territories was the subject of visits led by FASE in Espírito Santo


Note: FASE were co-organizers of the tour to the communities of Espírito Santo.

The article (included below in full) is written by Claudio Nogueira (FASE Communications Coordinator) and originally appeared June 2nd, 2023, on FASE’s website. It is available in both Portugese and English through Google Translate.


The pulp industry writes a sad story in Brazil. Its role in land occupation with eucalyptus monoculture imprints a perverse logic that suffocates traditional communities and goes far beyond false ideas of reforestation and environmental concern. This was the scenario encountered by members of the campaign “Stop GM Trees” (No to Transgenic Trees) and the Alert Against Green Deserts Network, in a tour organized by the FASE Espírito Santo team, visiting locations in the north of Espírito Santo and the extreme south in Bahia, between the 24th and 29th of May.

In all, around 25 people, including popular educators, quilombola and landless leaders, environmentalists and foreign researchers from Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Ireland, Argentina and Chile were able to verify the impact of eucalyptus plantations on the way of life of family farmers and traditional communities in the region. For three days, the group got to know the experiences of agroecological practices in areas taken over by the Landless Workers Movement (MST) at the Egídio Brunetto Training School and at the Índio Galdino settlement, in addition to hearing reports of the difficulties faced by the quilombola communities of Volta Miúda and Angelim 2 with monoculture plantations. After the visits,

eucalyptus espirito santo

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

For Beto Loureiro, educator at FASE in Espírito Santo, the tour was important for the researchers to realize that the impacts are already terrible, and the transgenic trees are going to be one more aggression in the historical series that monoculture causes in the territories, “since the expulsion of traditional communities, passing through the depletion of water resources and the enormous amount of poisons that they apply now, even by air”. “They are spraying the monocultures by drone, and this poison is spreading, falling on the communities’ plantations, falling on their homes, on their schools. In short, a real chemical war, which takes place here in the green desert, ”he explains.

Transgenic trees, a new threat

Brazil was chosen to host the meeting due to the extension of activities in the paper industry and approval by the company Suzano, in 2021, for the planting of genetically modified eucalyptus trees to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate. This follows the previous approval, in 2015, of FuturaGene’s fast-growing transgenic eucalyptus tree, which was not planted commercially. The country is the only one in Latin America where field tests seem to be taking place today with genetically modified trees.

Genetic engineering directly changes the genetic makeup (DNA) of an organism, bypassing normal plant or animal reproduction to create new traits. Genetic engineering includes techniques that make changes to DNA by inserting genetic material from the same, similar or wholly unrelated organisms, or, with genome editing (also called gene editing), by introducing genetic material that acts as “editor” to change the DNA. Genetic engineering applied to trees is a technical challenge fraught with serious environmental and social risks.

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

Most research is focused on increasing the productivity of planted trees for various industrial purposes. These objectives include pulp, paper and wood production; as well as the use of trees as “bioenergy” crops – to produce biomass and liquid “cellulosic biofuel”. There is also some interest in genetically modifying trees to produce other industrial materials such as pharmaceuticals, using the trees as “biofactories”, as well as experiments to sell carbon credits and proposals to release these trees into the wild to “restor” endangered species. of extinction.

“It made us realize that it is another problem that we will have to deal with”, ponders Beto. “These transgenic eucalyptus trees grow very quickly. Therefore, they must also suck water very quickly, they are resistant to poisons. We can imagine that the burden of poisons in monocultures will increase, and that is what we expect from these researchers: that they return to their countries also understanding that non-transgenic eucalyptus is already a tragedy”, he concludes.

The foreign delegation continued its tour of Brazil with audiences at UnB and Esplanada dos Ministérios, in Brasília, and will continue to Mato Grosso do Sul, also to verify the role of eucalyptus plantations in the environmental imbalance in the state.