Brazil's President Michel Temer is relying on the support of a powerful agriculture caucus in Brazil's congress in pushing a proposed bill to reduce preservation areas of the Jamanxim National Forest in the Amazonian state of Para by 27 percent, or about 350,000 hectares - an area roughly the size of Portugal.
"This sends a message that it's worth it to occupy public land," said Elis Araujo, a researcher and lawyer at Imazon, an Amazon watchdog agency.
Brazil's National Institute for Space Research found that Amazon deforestation increased by 29 percent from August 2015 to July 2016 after having fallen steadily since 2005.
The same criminal groups that are responsible for mass deforestation also often use violence or threats of violence to expel local populations such as peasant or indigenous communities trying to resist land-grabbing and environmental destruction.
It's not just peasant and indigenous groups suffering from violence; trucks belonging to Brazil's environmental police were burned in Novo Progresso, where the Jamanxim National Forest is situated, after Temer vetoed a similar deforestation bill to reduce the forest areas by 37 percent, following criticisms by Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg.