Sao Paulo - Data released this week by Brazil rural violence watchdog Comissao Pastoral da Terra (CPT) showed there had been at least 70 killings related to land and resource conflicts in 2017, the bloodiest year on record since 2003.
During April and May 2017, nine small farmers were killed by hooded gunmen, an indigenous tribe was attacked with guns and knives, and 10 agricultural workers were shot dead by police during clashes on a squatted farm.
"Historic problems, such as land grabbing, armed militias in the countryside and massacres have increased," CPT national coordinator Paulo Cesar Moreira told Al Jazeera.
The data comes nearly 22 years after the Eldorado dos Carajas massacre in the Amazon state of Para when 19 landless farmers were shot and killed by military police.
Land conflict killings spiked suddenly in 2015 when Brazil plunged into political and economic crisis, and the violence has grown steadily since, with most of the killings taking place in the Amazon states.
In their 2016 Defenders of the Earth report, NGO Global Witness noted: "the ruthless scramble for the Amazon's natural wealth makes Brazil, once again, the world's deadliest country in terms of sheer numbers killed".