December 20, 2017 / 5:35 PM / in 6 months

Brazilian activist wins international forest champion award

BONN, Germany, Dec 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Brazilian activist who helped thousands of people in the Amazon rainforest to use their land sustainably won an international environmental award on Wednesday.

Despite threats from logging companies, Maria Margarida Ribeiro da Silva, from the northern state of Pará, has been campaigning for more than a decade for the right of local people to use land for hunting, fishing and harvesting wild plants.

Ribeiro da Silva, who lives on the Verde para Sempre Extractive Reserve, a 1.3 million hectare area protected by the government, helped persuade officials to allow the community to manage the forest, including cutting and selling timber.

“I hope that this award will help to guarantee the continuity of support (for) the Amazonian communities in their work to protect the forests for future generations,” she said in a statement.

She was awarded the $20,000 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award - an annual prize named after the late Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist - at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, a conference on sustainable land use. (Reporting by Astrid Zweynert @azweynert, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

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