Mapping Fire: The Case of Matopiba

Ramos Junior, Dernival Venâncio, de Aguiar, Vinicius Gomes and Kantamaneni, Komali orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3852-4374 (2023) Mapping Fire: The Case of Matopiba. IDS Bulletin, 54 (1). pp. 107-127. ISSN 0265-5012

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This article examines fire as a political tool to advance the expansion of the agricultural frontier in Brazil and proposes a methodology for working with affected communities to protect their territories. Historically, fire has been used by communities as a traditional resource management strategy. However, it has also been associated with environmental degradation and agribusiness expansion. Our analysis focuses on the territories of black rural communities in Matopiba and shows how territorial conflict is now shifting to the productive spaces of these communities, indicating a politicisation of these spaces and implications for the regional agri-food system. Using satellite imagery and participatory methods, the authors worked with community members and activists to create an integrated map documenting and assessing the extent of fires in the area. The methodology developed can support the protection of areas and communities in other parts of this region and help gather evidence that can be used in court cases and support whistleblowing to the authorities.

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