Illegal constructions in Rio de Janeiro’s mangrove forests

Protected wetlands habitat is destroyed and built on illegally by criminal gangs, threatening environment and residents.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Rio de Janeiro’s West Zone neighborhood of Guaratiba is a rich and rarely visited mangrove ecosystem. The Guaratiba State Biological Reserve is over 3,000 hectares in size, about half of which comprises mangrove forests.

Mangroves are a coastal salt-water tropical forest that grows on swampy ground, usually underwater at high tide. The trees that grow in these areas have adapted to live in saltwater, which is usually fatal to trees. The habitat harbors many different species, particularly sea creatures and birds.

However, Guaratiba’s mangroves' importance and their protected status have not prevented . . .

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