Green Heroes pp 165-169 | Cite as

Chico Mendes – A Martyr for the Rainforest

  • László Erdős


In the 1960s the large-scale deforestation of the Amazon Basin became a priority for the government of Brazil. This was bad news for Native Americans and rubber tappers, who lived in and from the jungle. Chico Mendes organised blockades to prevent deforestations. Soon he became an internationally recognised figure. Following the concept elaborated by Mendes, the first extractive reserve, a protected area where only sustainable activities are allowed, was established. But not everyone was happy about these achievements. Mendes received death threats and was assassinated in 1988. Mendes showed that the rainforest is able to provide livelihoods for millions of people, provided that it is not cleared for a few thousand ranchers and speculators. Unfortunately, the clearcutting of the jungle continues in Amazonia, where the fight for the forest is as dangerous as it was in Mendes’ time.


Tropical rainforest Rubber tappers Deforestation Amazonia Marginalised people 

Worth Reading

  1. Mendes, C., & Gross, T. (1989). Fight for the forest: Chico Mendes in his own words. London: Latin American Bureau.Google Scholar
  2. Revkin, A. (2004). The burning season: The murder of Chico Mendes and the fight for the Amazon rain forest. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  3. Rodrigues, G. (2007). Walking the forest with Chico Mendes: Struggle for justice in the Amazon. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  4. Shoumatoff, A. (1990). The world is burning. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar

Worth Watching

  1. Voice of the Amazon (1989)Google Scholar
  2. The Burning Season (1994)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • László Erdős
    • 1
  1. 1.MTA-DE Lendület Functional and Restoration Ecology Research Group, DebrecenInstitute of Ecology and Botany MTA Centre for Ecological ResearchVácrátótHungary

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