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Title: Deforestation and International Economic Development Projects in Brazilian Amazonia
Authors: Fearnside, Philip Martin
Issue Date: 1987
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Conservation Biology
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 1, Número 3, Pags. 214-221
Abstract: Abstract: International economic development projects speed deforestation in Brazil's Amazon region. Highways financed by these projects form a key link in a positive feedback relationship between deforestation and population migration. Roads facilitate entry of settlers whose land claims (established by deforestation) justify building more roads. Deforestation is explosive in Rondôniq site of the World Bank‐financed POLONOROESTE project. Increased deforestation is likely in Acre, where highway improvement financed by the Interamerican Development Bank is under way, and (if funded) in the Grande Carajás agricultural program area. Deforested areas are usually converted to low‐diversity cattle pasture to secure land claims at minimal cost. Pasture also facilitates obtaining land titles. Profits from land sales are enhanced by road improvements and by titling. Government and development project efforts to encourage nonpasture uses are unlikely to be effective in the absence of reforms limiting the profitability of land speculation. Economic development projects in Brazilian Amazonia share many common patterns that lead to heavy impact on the region's natural ecosystems. High‐level decisions make the projects iwevmible before environmental and land capability studies are made–or even in spite of negative indications that are already known. Previous commitments to preserving natural habitats and tribal areas are frequently reneged. Environmental measures are often mere symbolic actions serving only to tranquilize public concern during the key period when the development is not yet a fait accompli. Projects in Amazonia are often undertaken to alleviate social problems outside the region, especially by absorbing migrants who leave southern and northeastern Brazil because of population growth, agricultural transformation, and land tenure concentration. If they are to be effective, measures addressing these problems must be applied directly in the migrant source areas. Financing Brazil's agrarian reform efforts in these areas represents a major opportunity for international lending agencies to help slow Amazonian deforestation. Copyright © 1987, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.1987.tb00035.x
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