Para is an agricultural frontier state where cattle farmers and increasing numbers of soy producers co-exist, often uneasily, with indigenous groups and forest conservation units [Sam Cowie/Al Jazeera]

Sao Paulo, Brazil – Environmental groups have warned that new legislation passed by Para state government in Brazil‘s Amazon stands to benefit land thieves and could accelerate deforestation and rural conflicts.

Signed by Para’s Governor Helder Barbalho, the law was published in the state’s official gazette on Tuesday.

Across Brazil’s vast Amazon states, it’s common for settlers to illegally occupy public lands in the hope of receiving future land titles. But Brenda Brito, a researcher at the Imazon institute, a Brazil-based research organisation, said the new law removes minimum requirements needed to stake property claims.

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