Often we think of illegal logging as a threat to ecosystems and wildlife. However, this week provided a tragic reminder that illegal logging harms not only harms plants and animals, it also threatens people and communities around the globe. In a remote region near Peru’s border with Brazil, a prominent activist, Edwin Chota, was shot and killed, along with three community leaders. Suspected in the killings were illegal loggers, who have long tried to extract tropical hardwoods in nearby forests.
Unfortunately, these slayings are not an isolated occurrence. According to a recent report by Global Witness, more than 900 people were killed from 2002 to 2013 while trying to protect the environment and land rights. While this violence has spread around the globe, Latin America has been particularly impacted, with Brazil accounting for nearly 450 of these cases.