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Abstract

Brazil's BR-319 Highway linked Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, to Porto Velho, Rondônia, until it became impassable in 1988. Now it is proposed for reconstruction and paving, which would facilitate migration from the "Arc of Deforestation" in the southern part of the Amazon region to new frontiers farther north. The purpose of the highway, which is to facilitate transport to São Paulo of products from factories in the Manaus Free Trade Zone, would be better served by sending the containers by ship to the port of Santos. The lack of a land connection to Manaus currently represents a significant barrier to migration to central and northern Amazonia. Discourse regarding the highway systematically overestimates the highway's benefits and underestimates its impacts. A variety of changes would be needed prior to paving the highway if these potential impacts are to be attenuated. These include zoning, reserve creation, and increased governance in various forms, including deforestation licensing and control programs. More fundamental changes are also needed, especially the abandonment of the long-standing tradition in Brazil of granting squatters' rights to those who invade public land. Organizing Amazonian occupation in such a way that road construction and improvement cease to lead to explosive and uncontrolled deforestation should be a prerequisite for approval of the BR-319 and other road projects for which major impacts are expected. These projects could provide the impetus that is needed to achieve the transition away from appropriation of public land by both small squatters and by grileiros (large-scale illegal claimants). A delay in reconstructing the highway is advisable until appropriate changes can be effected.
The text that follows is a PREPRINT.
Please cite as:
Fearnside, P.M. & P.M.L.A. Graça.
2006. BR-319: Brazil’s Manaus-
Porto Velho Highway and the
potential impact of linking the arc of
deforestation to central Amazonia.
Environmental Management 38(5):
705-716. doi: 10.1007/s00267-005-
0295-y
ISSN: 0364-152X
Copyright: Springer.
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
ENM-05-0295 R2 revised 25 Mar. 2006 1 Environmental Management (accepted 10 April 2006) 2 3 BR-319: BRAZIL’S MANAUS-PORTO VELHO 4 HIGHWAY AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF 5 LINKING THE ARC OF DEFORESTATION TO 6 CENTRAL AMAZONIA 7 8 9 Philip M. Fearnside* 10 Paulo Maurício Lima de Alencastro Graça 11 12 Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) 13 Av. Andre Araujo, 2936 14 C.P. 478 15 69011-970 Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil 16 17 18 *Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; email: pmfearn@inpa.gov.br 19 20
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ABSTRACT / Brazil’s BR-319 Highway linked Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, to Porto 1 Velho, Rondônia, until it became impassable in 1988. Now it is proposed for reconstruction 2 and paving, which would facilitate migration from the “Arc of Deforestation” in the southern 3 part of the Amazon region to new frontiers farther north. The purpose of the highway, which 4 is to facilitate transport to São Paulo of products from factories in the Manaus Free Trade 5 Zone, would be better served by sending the containers by ship to the port of Santos. The lack 6 of a land connection to Manaus currently represents a significant barrier to migration to 7 central and northern Amazonia. Discourse regarding the highway systematically 8 overestimates the highway’s benefits and underestimates its impacts. A variety of changes 9 would be needed prior to paving the highway if these potential impacts are to be attenuated. 10 These include zoning, reserve creation, and increased governance in various forms, including 11 deforestation licensing and control programs. More fundamental changes are also needed, 12 especially the abandonment of the longstanding tradition in Brazil of granting squatters’ 13 rights to those who invade public land. Organizing Amazonian occupation in such a way that 14 road construction and improvement ceases to lead to explosive and uncontrolled deforestation 15 should be a prerequisite for approval of the BR-319 and other road projects for which major 16 impacts are expected. These projects could provide the impetus that is needed to achieve the 17 transition away from appropriation of public land by both small squatters and by grileiros 18 (large-scale illegal claimants). A delay in reconstructing the highway is advisable until 19 appropriate changes can be effected. 20 21 KEYWORDS: Amazonia, BR-319, Brazil, Deforestation, Highways, Manaus, Porto Velho, 22 Roads 23
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Controling deforestation is the most pervasive problem in environmental 1 management facing tropical forest areas such as Brazilian Amazonia. Highway construction 2 and improvement decisions represent critical junctures in the series of events leading to forest 3 loss. Highways have a keystone role in the deforestation process by stimulating influxes of 4 population and investment that represent more proximal drivers of clearing. Highway-5 construction decisions are made by government agencies and are therefore more subject to 6 influence based on environmental concerns than are the decisions of thousands of individual 7 actors at the deforestation frontier (e.g., Fearnside 1987a). Highway decisions are also subject 8 to requirements of environmental impact studies and licensing, providing opportunities for 9 modifying the decisions or for demanding complementary measures. Understanding the 10 decision process and finding ways in which it might be improved therefore has an important 11 role in environmental management for these regions. A decision to build or improve a 12 highway is the result of a wide range of considerations that must be examined in order to 13 understand the decision-making process as it is and to recommend ways in which this process 14 might be improved. Our intent in this paper is both to extract these lessons and to clarify 15 options available for the current decision on opening a migration route to central Amazonia. 16 17 Amazon Highways and the History of BR-319 18 19 In 1970 Brazil’s military dictatorship launched the Transamazon Highway, bisecting 20 the Amazon region from east to west. At the same time, a vast network of additional 21 highways was announced. The planned road network greatly exceeded the government’s 22 financial capacities, even in this period of Brazil’s so-called “economic miracle” (e.g., Davis 23 1977). The plethora of planned roads also greatly exceeded what would be justified by 24 economic benefits of improved transportation because the road building program was partly 25 motivated by questions of territorial control rather than economics. In 1971 a “decree-law” 26 (No. 1164) gave the federal government control of all land within 100 km of any planned 27 highway, even if the “highway” was nothing but a line drawn on a map. Announcement of 28 the road network resulted in a vast area, totaling 2.2 million km2 (almost half of the Legal 29 Amazon region) being transferred from state to federal control (Brazil, PIN 1972). This 30 decree-law was revoked in 1987 (by Decree-Law No. 2375), and any land within 100 km of a 31 highway that had not yet been allocated to a specific purpose became “terra devoluta32 (unclaimed land) under state control. This affects a substantial part of the land along BR-319, 33 unlike other highways such as the Transamazon Highway and BR-163, which had been 34 claimed by federal agencies. In January 2006 the federal government proclaimed a 15 35 million-ha area encompassing almost all of the land between the Madeira and Purus Rivers as 36 an “Area of Provisional Administrative Limitation”(ALAP) and began forming a committee 37 to recommend special measures to prepare the area for the highway project. 38 39 The BR-319 Highway, running 877 km north-south from Manaus to Porto Velho 40 (Figure 1), was originally built in 1972 (680 km) and 1973 (197 km). Government policy at 41 the time required that all highways first be constructed as unpaved roads, only to be paved 42 after a period of years had elapsed and if justified by the road’s traffic. In the case of BR-319, 43 however, a special exception was opened, and the highway was paved immediately at the 44 time of construction. Haste was such that much of the road was built in the rainy season with 45 the extraordinary practice of laying down plastic sheets on top of the fresh asphalt. 46 47 [Figure 1 here] 48 49
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The high priority given to initial paving of the highway is best explained as part of 1 an informal package of public works and federal programs that was given to the state of 2 Amazonas as a sort of compensation for heavier federal investments in the state of Pará (e.g., 3 Mahar 1976, p. 360). Headquarters of the Superintendency for Development of Amazonia 4 (SUDAM) was established in Belém (capital of Pará), and the great majority of ranching and 5 other projects financed by the agency were in Pará. Pará also got most of the Transamazon 6 Highway and all of its settlements, as well as construction of the BR-163 highway and paving 7 of the Belém-Brasília (BR-010) Highway, followed shortly after by the Tucuruí Dam. 8 Amazonas, a traditional rival of Pará, was given the Manaus Free Trade Zone (SUFRAMA), 9 the Balbina Dam, and the BR-174 and BR-319 Highways. Balance between states is 10 important in explaining why large federal investments with little economic justification have 11 sometimes been made in Amazonas. The Balbina Dam is the best-known example (Fearnside 12 1989a); the same considerations applied to BR-319. 13 14 In the 1970s and 1980s BR-319 had little traffic, as industrial production from 15 Manaus was more cheaply sent to markets in south-central Brazil by ship and even by air. 16 Rondônia was still the destination of most migrants who followed the BR-364 (Cuiabá-Porto 17 Velho) Highway from Paraná and other major source areas (Fearnside 1987b). By the time 18 Rondônia was essentially full and overflowing with migrants, BR-319 had degraded to the 19 point that road conditions inhibited migration further north. However, by the time bus service 20 from Porto Velho to Manaus was suspended in 1988, enough migrants had found their way to 21 Manaus and especially to Roraima to significantly affect development there. Poor road 22 conditions on BR-319 convinced those leaving Rondônia to go to Acre or to the southern part 23 of the state of Amazonas rather than to Manaus or to Roraima. The alternative to road 24 transport was a four-day boat trip from Porto Velho to Manaus, which represented a 25 significant barrier to most of Rondônia’s migrants, who have come from non-Amazonian 26 parts of Brazil and are unaccustomed to boat travel. The thin layer of asphalt on BR-319 soon 27 became a nearly continuous series of potholes, which are both more expensive to fill and 28 more damaging to vehicles than would be the case on an unpaved road. Much of the route 29 had to be driven on temporary tracks beside the road rather than on the roadbed itself. The 30 road from Porto Velho to Humaitá has remained passable since the highway was built, and 31 the first 200 km proceeding north from Humaitá were settled by colonists on 100-ha lots 32 distributed by the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA). Most of 33 these lots have now changed hands one or more times and are consolidated into small ranches 34 (fazendolas) of 500 ha or more. 35 36 The southern end of the highway has remained at least marginally passable for the 37 first 100 km north of Humaitá, and to a lesser extent for the next 100 km,. In 2001 the first 58 38 km to the north of Humaitá was repaved, as was the 100 km at the northern end of the 39 highway from Careiro Castanho to Manaus. A 340-km stretch in the middle of the route 40 remains impassable, although occasional convoys of vehicles have made the journey at the 41 height of the dry season in some years (bridges have been maintained to allow access to 42 microwave towers along the route). Reluctance to spend limited government resources on 43 reconstructing BR-319 is undoubtedly a combined result of existence of a waterway 44 (hidrovia) on the Madeira River parallel to the highway and the very high cost of maintaining 45 a highway in an area where rainfall averages up to 2200 mm annually. 46 47 Plans for Reconstruction 48 49
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Reconstruction and repaving of BR-319 has been planned and postponed repeatedly. 1 The project was initially included in the 1996-1999 “Brasil em Ação” (Brazil in Action) plan, 2 but, despite objections from the state of Amazonas, was withdrawn by the program’s 3 coordinator, José Paulo Silveira, because of the low economic justification as compared to 4 the hundreds of other projects in the four-year development plan (J. P. Silveira, public 5 statement 1999). Paving the highway was subsequently included in the 2000-2003 “Avança 6 Brasil” (Forward Brazil) program (Brazil, Programa Avança Brasil 1999; Consórcio 7 Brasiliana 1998; Fearnside 2002), but only the two stretches mentioned above were actually 8 paved (totaling 158 km). In the 2004-2007 “Plano Plurianual” (Pluriannual Plan), or “PPA,” 9 launched under president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil, MPOG 2004) the BR-319 project 10 appeared listed as expected for “after 2007”, meaning that it would not be built during the 11 term of the plan. However, President Lula’s Minister of Transportation, Alfredo Nascimento, 12 is the former mayor of Manaus and has made the project a high priority (Banega and 13 Simonetti 2005). Nascimento’s political party (Partido Liberal: PL) has made extensive use 14 his promises to build the highway in television and other advertisements in preparation for 15 the October 2006 election. 16 17 The schedule announced by the Minister of Transportation approximately three 18 months before the intended date for beginning work implied that he considered an 19 environmental impact study (EIA) and report on impact on the environment (RIMA) to be 20 unnecessary. Instead of the EIA/RIMA, which must conform to federal norms and be 21 completed and approved before beginning construction, the state government contracted the 22 Federal University of Amazonas to draft a Report of Environmental Acompanyment to be 23 done simultaneously with the construction project. The Minister of Transportation and the 24 Amazonas state governor inaugurated the beginning of construction on 9 July 2005, but a 25 judicial order halted the project on 4 August. The Minister of the Environment announced on 26 11 August 2005 that the BR-319 reconstruction project would have to go through the 27 environmental licensing process. On 1 September the Regional Federal Court (TRF) issued 28 an order lifting the judicial embargo until the main case is decided, and the Minister of 29 Transportation announced immediate resumption of the reconstruction project. 30 31 Paving the BR-319 highway has great public appeal in Manaus. In March 2005 all 24 32 state deputies (representatives in the legislative assembly of Amazonas) signed a “manifesto 33 of support” urging the federal government to pave the highway immediately. In Manaus the 34 highway is generally viewed as a means of exporting industrial products more cheaply to São 35 Paulo and other major markets in south-central Brazil, and as a cheaper route for the city’s 36 inhabitants to travel to these areas, for example for family visits. The fact that the road will 37 facilitate travel in both directions, leading to greatly increased migration to Manaus, is 38 scarcely mentioned (personal observation). 39 40 Potential Impacts 41 42 Impacts along the Highway Route 43 44 Paving BR-319 will lead to transformation of the area along the highway route. 45 Representatives of the industrial and civil construction sectors in Manaus argue that, because 46 the highway has existed for a long time, reconstructing and paving it would have virtually no 47 environmental effect because “what was to be degraded has already been degraded” (Almeida 48 2005). Unfortunately, past experience of road building and improvement in Amazonia has 49
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resulted in a pattern of deforestation spreading out from access routes once they are 1 established, and an acceleration when they are improved. The rate of spread depends on 2 various factors, but one that stands out as a highly significant predictor is the distinction 3 between paved and unpaved roads (Laurance and others 2001, 2002; Nepstad and others 4 2000, 2001; Soares-Filho and others 2005, 2006). 5 6 The fact that little deforestation has occurred since the BR-319 Highway was initially 7 opened is sometimes suggested as indicating that this region would suffer little impact were 8 the road to be reconstructed and repaved. Lack of clearing along the route is attributed by 9 some to excessive rainfall making the climate inappropriate for ranching and agriculture 10 (Schneider and others 2000) and to economic disadvantages of the long distance to markets. 11 However, physical differences are not so great between the southern half of the BR-319 route 12 and areas that have become major deforestation hotspots in Amazonas since 2002 between 13 Humaitá and Lábrea and between Humaitá and Apuí. Malaria is endemic and clearly 14 debilitating along the highway route; however, malaria cannot explain the modest advance of 15 deforestation in the years following original construction since the disease also affects other 16 areas with high deforestation rates. 17 18 In the northernmost portion of the route agriculture is unpromising because of less 19 fertile soils (Brazil, Projeto RADAMBRASIL 1973-1982, vols. 17 & 18). The northern 20 portion is occupied by hydromorphic soils (Histosols), which are less desirable for agriculture 21 and ranching than the red-yellow podzolic soils (Ultisols) that occupy most of the first 300 22 km north of Humaitá (Brazil, Projeto RADAMBRASIL 1973-1982, vols. 17 & 18). Despite 23 agricultural limitations, the northern portion of the highway has been the focus of settlement 24 projects such as the Panelão and Igarapé Açu projects in Careiro Castanho county. While 25 poor soil offers some discouragement of deforestation, the notion that this somehow confers 26 an immunity to clearing has been shown to be in error by frequent examples (e.g., Fearnside 27 1986). 28 29 Some indications of potential increase in deforestation along the highway route are 30 evident. There have been a number of land purchases in anticipation of the paving, with 31 capital-intensive agriculture (rice, to be followed by soybeans) being used on one property 32 120 km north of Humaitá and several areas 200 km north of Humaitá reportedly purchased by 33 large soybean investors from Mato Grosso. However, in 2005 agricultural profitability was at 34 an economic low point, with substantial drops in the prices of rice, soybeans and beef causing 35 losses for agriculture and ranching throughout Amazonia. Contributing factors included the 36 lowest exchange rate of the Brazilian Real against the US dollar in three years (R$2.4 /US$) 37 having fallen by 24% between June 2004 and June 2005, combined with the normal 38 economic equilibria between supply and demand for these commodities. The globalized 39 nature of markets for these commodities resulted in low prices for all three commodities in 40 2005, even though Brazilian yields of rice and soybeans were both below normal due to 41 rainfall irregularities, especially rain in the harvest season. 42 43 Another development indicating a potential increase in deforestation along the 44 highway route if the road is repaved is arrival of landless migrants. Landless migrants have 45 established a camp at Igarapé Realidade (100 km north of Humaitá: Figure 2). Migrants in the 46 camp at Igarapé Realidade are organized as a community (although they do not identify 47 themselves as belonging to any national landless movement, such as the Movement of 48 Landless Rural Workers, or MST). Two busloads of migrants were obliged to return to 49
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Rondônia after a confrontation with police, but approximately 30 families remained in the 1 camp and surrounding area. Long-term residents in the area claim that they have started 2 clearings in various parts of the “fundiária” area (public lands that lie behind the 2-km deep 3 strip of lots originally distributed by INCRA along the roadside). This area of public land 4 already has various claimants, including long-term residents of the area engaged in gathering 5 Brazil nuts (Bertholetia excelsa) and several larger claims by individual and corporate owners 6 of blocks of lots along the highway. Residents along the highway believe that ownership of a 7 roadside lot gives the owner the right to a virtually unlimited area of the public land lying 8 behind the colonized area. INCRA states that colonists have no such right (David Benedito 9 Gonçalves, personal communication 2005). But, as the Thomas theorem in sociology holds, 10 "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences" (Thomas and Thomas 11 1928, pp. 571-572). 12 13 [Figure 2 here] 14 15 In addition to the migrants at Igarapé Realidade, a stream of free-lance land seekers 16 has appeared to stake out claims. Some of these are dropped off by boat on the banks of the 17 Madeira River and then wander through the forest in search of unclaimed land. These 18 individual agents from the already filled areas in Rondônia can be expected to travel to all 19 points along the road once access is improved. Currently there is bus service up to 200 km 20 north of Humaitá. 21 22 The claiming of large areas by grileiros leads to a pattern of violence in which hired 23 gunmen remove any competing claimants. The head of the National Institute for Colonization 24 and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) in Amazonas has denounced the prevalence of this pattern in 25 the region (Litaiff 2005). The vision of the state governor of the BR-319 becoming a 26 “corredor of family agriculture” (Amazonas em Tempo 2005a) would appear to be an 27 improbable scenario in the absense of first achieving success in implanting governance in the 28 area. 29 30 Effect of BR-319 is not restricted to the area directly accessed by the highway, but 31 also by a series of planned side roads that will connect BR-319 to municipal seats on the 32 Madeira and Purus Rivers. These include Manicoré, Borba, Novo Aripuanã and Tapauá. 33 Plans for side roads are already stimulating resistance by local politicians to creation of 34 reserves near proposed routes. A proposed indigenous reserve that borders the planned AM-35 465 road giving access to Tapauá is the focus of objections from city council members of 36 Tapauá, who want land opened by this side road to be available for agriculture (Amazonas em 37 Tempo 2005b). 38 39 Existence of protected areas of various types can significantly slow the advance of 40 deforestation, reducing the probability that any given hectare will undergo a transformation 41 from forest to another land use (Ferreira and others 2005). Sometimes the mere rumor that a 42 reserve will be created can discourage invasion. At present there are almost no reserves to 43 restrict deforestation along BR-319, although talk of creating such reserves is a major 44 preoccupation of large farmers and ranchers in Humaitá and along the occupied portion of the 45 highway route. The Capanã Grande extractive reserve (RESEX) has been created by the 46 federal government (Figure 2). The state government has plans for creating the Rio Amapá 47 sustainable development reserve (RDS). The area is of interest for reserve creation because 48 the strip of land between the Madeira and Purus rivers along which BR-319 passes is an 49
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interfluve with particularly high biological diversity (Mario Cohn-Haft, personal 1 communication 2005). 2 3 Impacts in Central Amazonia 4 5 Manaus today is an island of peace that seems out of place in Amazonia. To the north 6 of the city is the SUFRAMA Agriculture and Ranching District where large ranches were 7 established in the early 1980s with generous fiscal incentives and government-subsidized 8 financing packages. When the flow of government funds dwindled in the mid-1980s, most of 9 the pasture was abandoned. Today over 80% of the cleared area is occupied by woody 10 secondary vegetation. Yet no landless migrants invade the area; there are no battles between 11 squatters and gunmen, no burned shacks and no deaths. Abandoned ranches like these are 12 virtually nonexistent in southern Pará, northern Mato Grosso or Rondônia, as any such 13 ranches would be invaded almost immediately. 14 15 The peaceful scenario in rural areas around Manaus could change overnight with 16 opening of a paved link to the “Arc of Deforestation,” the crescent-shaped area along the 17 eastern and southern edges of the Amazon forest where deforestation activity is concentrated. 18 The relatively modest incursions of landless migrants on BR-319 today, such as the 19 encampment at Igarapé Realidade, are misleading as an indication of the scale of impact that 20 occurs when new migration frontiers become available. The much stronger effect on frontier 21 areas in southern Pará offers a better indication of this potential (Fearnside 2001). Estimates 22 of the number of landless rural families in all of Brazil range from 5 to 10 million, greatly 23 exceeding the capacity of the entire region even if entirely distributed in government 24 settlement projects (e.g., Fearnside 1985). 25 26 Manaus could also expect to receive a substantially increased flow of urban migrants. 27 Both rural-to-urban and urban-to-urban migration are powerful trends in Brazil’s ongoing 28 population flows (Brazil, IBGE 2005; Browder and Godfrey,1997). The industrial district in 29 Manaus, which benefits from special tax exemptions as a part of SUFRAMA, employed 30 82,730 people in April 2005 (Brazil, SUFRAMA 2005a); this has been the principal magnet 31 attracting population to the city (2005 population approximately 1.6 million). 32 33 Much of the migration to Manaus has so far come from riverside populations in the 34 interior of Amazonia, but this flow could be dwarfed by new arrivals from the rest of Brazil 35 were access made easier. Unemployment in Manaus is lower than in many Brazilian cities, 36 although the reputation Manaus enjoys for high levels of employment is not entirely 37 deserved. Manaus has 141 formal jobs per 1000 inhabitants; of the capital cities of Brazil’s 38 states, one-third have more unemployment than Manaus while two-thirds have less (Brazil, 39 IBGE 2005). However, Manaus has the best ratio of employment to population of any capital 40 city in Brazil’s northern region. 41 42 Per-capita income provides another indicator of the attractiveness of Manaus as a 43 migration destination. The state of Amazonas is far better off than surrounding states and has 44 higher per-capita income than any other federal unit in Brazil with the exception of the 45 Federal District (Brasília), Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. 46 Even Paraná, which is well known as a wealthy state, is slightly poorer than Amazonas. Per-47 capita income in Amazonas is more than double that of Pará and quadruple that of Maranhão 48 (Figure 3). Especially important for BR-319 is the fact that Amazonas has nearly twice the 49
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per-capita income of Rondônia. The city of Manaus is responsible for the state’s high 1 ranking. As a city, Manaus ranked third among the capitals of all 27 Brazilian federal units 2 in terms of gross domestic product per capita in 2005, behind only Vitória (Espírito Santo) 3 and Brasília (Distrito Federal) (Soares 2005). 4 5 [Figure 3 here] 6 7 Needless to say, arrival of large numbers of urban migrants in Manaus would stretch 8 already precarious social services and increase urban problems such as unemployment, 9 underemployment, urban invasions and crime. One would expect migration from other parts 10 of Brazil to be proportional to the disparity in employment opportunities and living standards 11 between source and destination locations, leading to a lowering of the attractive qualities of 12 the destination location until an equilibrium is established (e.g., movements in Garcia and 13 others 2004). The magnitude of disparity that can be maintained at equilibrium depends on 14 the friction to migration represented by impediments such as lack of road access to Manaus. 15 When these impediments are removed, the equilibrium would shift as heightened migration 16 lowers the attractive features of the destination area. An example is provided by Sorriso, 17 Mato Grosso: this small city, which is at the center of Mato Grosso’s soybean boom, was the 18 subject of frequent news reports because the economic boom had resulted in the area having 19 the highest Index of Human Development in Brazil. A year later, the mayor of the Sorriso 20 lamented that publicity of the Index resulted in the city becoming overrun with migrants. 21 With five busloads of people arriving per day, the mayor is looking for ways to discourage 22 the migration that has already increased the population of schoolchildren by 36% (Folha de 23 São Paulo 2005). 24 25 Impacts in Roraima 26 27 The potential for increased migration to Roraima is likely to be one of the principal 28 impacts of paving BR-319. Aside from the longstanding population flow from Maranhão to 29 Pará, Rondônia has become the principal source of migration to other Amazonian states, the 30 main destinations being areas such as Apuí (in southern Amazonas), eastern Acre, and a 31 significant movement to northwestern Mato Grosso (reversing the traditional flow from Mato 32 Grosso to Rondônia) (e.g., Garcia and others 2004). Roraima is also a destination, although 33 the difficulty of transportation restrains migration on this route at present. In the early 1980s, 34 when BR-319 was passable, a substantial fraction of the migrants who arrived in Manaus on 35 the highway continued directly to Roraima via BR-174, rather than settling in central 36 Amazonia. This is partially explained by geochemistry—Roraima, located on the Boa Vista 37 Formation, has younger, more fertile soils than the Manaus area. It is also partly explained by 38 the active encouragement of the government of Roraima, which distributed land in settlement 39 areas, provided services such as subsidized transport to markets and even transported new 40 migrants to the state as part of election strategies (see Fearnside and Barbosa 1996). 41 42 Highway Benefits 43 44 Benefits of paving BR-319 are much less than what is portrayed in political discourse 45 surrounding the subject. The main justification presented is lowering of transportation costs 46 for freight to south-central Brazil, thereby increasing competitiveness of industrial products 47 from Manaus on markets in São Paulo and other population centers. However, the industrial 48 products of Manaus, such as television sets and motorcycles, are not perishable items for 49
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which reducing transportation time by a few days would make a significant difference. 1 Shipment of such freight by ship to the port of Santos is much more efficient both in terms of 2 energy use and in terms of labor costs than is shipment in thousands of trucks, irrespective of 3 the highway route. The same arguments used as justification for BR-319 are simultaneously 4 being used as part of the justification for paving the BR-163 Highway from Santarém to 5 Cuiabá (e.g., Simonetti 2005; Brazil, SUFRAMA 2005b). Freight now taken from Manaus to 6 Belém by barge and trucked to São Paulo via the Belém-Brasília (BR-010) Highway takes 11 7 days and would would arrive in 5 days if trucked from Santarém (Brazil, BNDES 1998, p. 8 68). Counting the same freight in justifying BR-319 implies that this benefit would evaporate 9 for BR-163. The current multimodal route through Porto Velho is cheaper than the route 10 through Belém, but the Porto Velho route is only usable for part of the year because the 11 Madeira River is not navigable in its low-water period. Water level in the Madeira River 12 varies by 15 m over the course of the year, and depth at Porto Velho is only 2 m when water 13 flow is at its annual minimum. 14 15 The trucking route from Manaus to São Paulo via the Belém-Brasília Highway would 16 appear to lack logic when compared with movement of freight by cabotage, or coastal 17 shipping, between Manaus and São Paulo’s port at Santos. Brazil’s National Bank for 18 Economic and Social Development (BNDES), which is responsible for promoting 19 transportation infrastructure development, has published transportation cost figures that 20 directly contradict the political discourse promoting the highway project. BNDES estimates 21 that use of the ships would reduce the door-to-door cost of freight by 50% as compared to 22 current barge and highway options (Brazil, BNDES 1998, p. 102). However, “transport of 23 general cargo by cabotage is practically nonexistent” (Brazil, BNDES 1998, p. 64). BNDES 24 (1998, p. 100) states that “the greatest impediment to movement of this freight by cabotage is 25 in the inefficiency and unreliability of the ports. …. If fees and service quality were in accord 26 with international standards, making regular operation of cabotage viable, freight between 27 Manaus and the south-east region would fall to approximately R$3 thousand [US$2.6 28 thousand at the time][per container], or half of the current cost.” In addition to port costs, 29 BNDES also emphasizes “abusive” prices of auxiliary services such as piloting fees on the 30 Amazonas River that alone “cost R$100 [US$86] [per container], on average, or 3% of the 31 total freight cost between Manaus and São Paulo”. 32 33 The port of Manaus is the most inefficient in Brazil in terms of the number of hours 34 needed to load or unload a ship: 36 hours, or twice the length of time required in Santos (Ono 35 2001, p. 43). In addition to being inefficient, the ports are also expensive. In a report by the 36 National Confederation of Transportation, a “necessary action” identified to make cabotage 37 viable is “reduction of excess labor in the ports” (CNT, nd [C. 2002], p. 148). Modernization 38 has reduced the number of manual tasks, resulting in surplus workers. The National 39 Confederation of Transportation outlines a negotiating strategy based on offers of early 40 retirement for these workers. However, we would suggest that in the case of Manaus much of 41 this could be unnecessary since the needed major expansion of the port should allow the 42 present workforce to be retained. 43 44 Political discourse regarding the benefits of transporting the industrial output of 45 Manaus to São Paulo by truck via either BR-163 or BR-319 may well bear little relation to 46 what actually unfolds once the highways are paved. For example, paving of the BR-174 47 Highway in 1997 was justified by the claim that industrial products from Manaus would be 48 trucked to Venezuela and exported from there by ship to the USA via Houston, Texas 49
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(Abdala 1996). This was calculated to save 15 days over exporting the products directly by 1 ship from Manaus. Once the highway was paved, no trucks appeared to ply this new export 2 route. The greater economic efficiency of exporting directly by ship is evident, the difference 3 in cost outweighing the value of saving two weeks in transport. Nevertheless, discourse 4 regarding a truck route to Venezuela served its purpose in gaining political support for the 5 highway paving. Increased deforestation in Roraima is one of the ongoing costs of the BR-6 174 Highway. 7 8 The main benefit of BR-319 is likely to be political support for those able to take 9 credit for its reconstruction. Construction would be with federal funds, not funds from 10 taxpayers of the state of Amazonas. This difference in perspective can be a key factor in 11 perception of whether major investments are worthwhile, the Balbina Dam near Manaus 12 providing a clear example (Fearnside 1989a). Another influential group is construction firms 13 and the array of potential suppliers of goods and services to the construction effort. As with 14 any major public investment where financial costs are borne by taxpayers spread throughout 15 the country while commercial activity and employment generated in the construction phase 16 are localized (e.g., in Manaus), a lobby of local support can be expected to develop even if 17 the project in question has minimal economic justification. The Balbina Dam, for example, is 18 known as a “pharaonic” project because, like the pyramids of ancient Egypt, it erected a 19 massive structure at great cost with little or no practical return (Fearnside 1989a). 20 21 In addition to industrial freight, which is seen as leading to increased employment in 22 Manaus, an important source of support for paving BR-319 lies in the imagination of middle-23 class residents of Manaus who visualize themselves making vacation trips to south-central 24 Brazil, even though most such trips are likely never to take place (at least by road). Ending 25 the “isolation” of Manaus proves to be a powerful slogan, but it is rarely remembered that 26 this coin has two sides, the other being the arrival of a stream of migrants to Manaus. 27 28 BR-319 and the Decision-Making Process 29 30 The decision-making process for paving BR-319 follows the pattern evident in other 31 Amazonian infrastructure projects of substantially underestimating impacts and 32 overestimating benefits of proposed public works. Most notable in this case is the effect of 33 not counting major environmental and social impact of the road, namely the impact of 34 population flow to central Amazonia and to Roraima. Impacts of laying down the roadbed 35 itself are minimal as compared to more far-reaching effects of population flow and increased 36 deforestation activity (e.g., Fearnside 2005a). Deforestation provokes loss of environmental 37 services such as biodiversity maintenance, water cycling and carbon storage (e.g., Fearnside 38 2005b). These losses include increasing risk of passing thresholds that could lead to 39 irreversible forest degradation. 40 41 The need for a rethinking of the plans for paving BR-319 at this time is suggested by 42 high environmental and social costs and modest benefits when viewed in a more realistic 43 light than that of the current political discourse. Impacts of the highway could be reduced if a 44 decision on paving it were postponed by several years and if good use were made of the 45 intervening time. One alternative would be a regular shipping service between Manaus and 46 Santos. The port of Manaus is capable of handling ocean-going ships of all sizes, but 47 shipping is primarily focused on foreign markets. Resistence to cabotage can be expected 48 from firms that currently operate barges to Belém and Porto Velho, but this should be no 49
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more of an impediment than are the same firms with respect to the BR-319 reconstruction 1 project. As of 1996 there were 15 firms transporting general cargo to Belém and eight firms 2 to Porto Velho (Brazil, BNDES 1998, pp. 66 & 79). 3 4 The ecological-economic zoning of the state of Amazonas, already completed in 5 preliminary form (Estado do Amazonas 2001), needs to be strengthened and implemented. In 6 Roraima a zoning has been completed but was left unimplemented because the state 7 environmental agency failed to send it to the state’s legislative assembly. What is needed as a 8 prerequisite for a decision on paving the highway is not a plan or a committee, but real 9 changes that are actually implanted before approval is granted. Assuming that mitigation 10 measures will be implanted simultaneously with highway paving represents a formula for 11 environmental disaster, as amply shown by the history of the BR-364 Highway (Fearnside 12 1989b). 13 14 Creation and implantation (including staffing) of reserves along the highway route is 15 an important measure that needs to be in place not only before the highway is opened but 16 before the effects of expectations of future paving further erode the possibilities of creating 17 such areas. Reserves can form barriers parallel to the highway to contain the expansion of 18 clearing from the edges of the road. In the case of extractive reserves, they also offer the 19 possibility of maintaining some of the current economy based on Brazil nut gathering, an 20 activity that is sacrificed wherever clearing advances and where local residents are replaced 21 with recent arrivals from southern Brazil. 22 23 Lack of governance is a chronic problem on BR-319, as elsewhere in Amazonia. Both 24 the federal environmental agency (IBAMA: Brazilian Institute for the Environment and 25 Renewable Natural Resources) and the state agency (IPAAM: Institute for Environmental 26 Protection of Amazonas) are very weak when compared to the challenges they face. 27 Enforcement is minimal of environmental regulations such as those requiring a “legal 28 reserve” of 80% of each property in areas of Amazonia where the original vegetation is 29 forest, and the “permanent protection areas” (APPs) along water courses and on steeply 30 sloping land. A combination of remote sensing, field campaigns, and close cooperation 31 between the enforcement agencies and the judicial system has shown itself to be effective in 32 influencing land-clearing behavior in the case of Mato Grosso’s licensing and control 33 program from 1999 to 2001, that is, under a previous state government (Fearnside 2003; 34 Fearnside and Barbosa 2003). These methods have not yet been applied in Amazonas or 35 Roraima. 36 37 A basic impediment to better governance is lack of land titling and a proper cadastre 38 that would make it possible to identify who owns any given piece of land. This needs to be 39 done without legalizing the claims of either grileiros (large illegal land claimers) or small 40 squatters. While a national cadastre is under preparation by INCRA, progress on this long-41 term project has not yet reached the BR-319 area. The Land Institute of Amazonas 42 (ITERAM) has also not yet succeeded in mounting a georeferenced data base of properties in 43 the areas it controls. 44 45 Fundamental and far-reaching changes are needed, in addition to more palliative 46 measures to contain deforestation through zoning, reserves and enforcement of environmental 47 regulations. The lack of employment alternatives needs to be addressed in both urban and 48 rural contexts. In the rural context, factors acting to discourage hiring of labor include the 49
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heavy burden of “social charges” such as the government pension fund. Informal 1 (unregulated) labor markets dominate in much of the Amazonian interior. Gross abuses, such 2 as debt slavery, are a common result of the weak governance that undermines the 3 enforcement of regulations of all types (e.g., Rocha 2005). 4 5 The types of land use chosen discourage creation of stable rural employment. Logging 6 is a significant employer, but the unsustainability of this land use, even when done as part of 7 approved management plans, leads to a continual movement of sawmills and logging 8 frontiers. The deforestation process itself employs a significant workforce in Amazonia, but 9 is necessarily a passing phenomenon in any given location (and, on the long run, in the region 10 as a whole). After deforestation, the predominant land use is cattle pasture, which also 11 employs few people. Where profitable, mechanized cultivation of rice and soybeans is 12 increasingly present. This form of agriculture substitutes machinery and herbicides for hand 13 labor. Among factors discouraging land uses that would employ more people in deforested 14 areas is fear of hired laborers and/or sharecroppers gaining squatters rights over land they 15 cultivate. Strategies to avoid such land-tenure claims include periodic expulsion and 16 replacement of workers and tenants. 17 18 Brazil urgently needs to make the transition away from relying on squatters’ rights as 19 an escape valve for inequalities and injustices of all types, as well as allowing and 20 legitimizing large-scale appropriation of public land by grileiros. Eventually, this custom is 21 bound to change as the limits of available forest area are approached. Both environmental and 22 social benefits would be great if the transition could be achieved soon—well before it is 23 forced on the country for lack of further forest to invade. 24 25 In places like Europe and North America this transition has been made long ago: 26 unemployed people who lack resources to start their own business are faced with the option 27 of seeking some form of employment, either urban or rural. The idea would not even occur to 28 them that they have an innate right to invade any “unused” land, such as public land in 29 Amazonia, in order to start a new farm. At some time in the distant past, of course, the 30 ancestors of virtually all people today claimed land by simply occupying it. In Brazil this 31 form of transferring land from the public to the private domain has persisted to this day. 32 Abandoning this tradtion requires a change in the mind set of the population. Such changes in 33 attitude can happen – the tradition of squatters’ rights is not a fixed part of the landscape. An 34 example is provided by settlement of the western part of the United States, where “closing of 35 the frontier” in 1890 marked the end of this form of freelance settlement (Turner 1893). For 36 such a change to occur in Brazil by means other than simply running out of land, some visible 37 milestone is needed. If political will for such a change can be mustered, the decision process 38 for highways like BR-319 could be the turning point for Brazil. 39 40 Conclusions 41 42 Uncounted environmental costs of linking central Amazonia to the “Arc of 43 Deforestation” need to be incorporated into the decision process before a decision is made to 44 reconstruct and pave the BR-319 Highway. While, over a time scale of decades, paving of 45 this highway is logical to expect, environmental costs would be high if this is done without 46 first preparing the areas to which potential impacts extend, including Roraima. Preparations 47 include ecological-economic zoning, establishment of reserves, and increasing the level of 48 governance to a point where impact from an increased flow of migrants could be contained. 49
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Organizing Amazonian occupation in such a way that road construction and improvement 1 ceases to lead inexorably to explosive and uncontrolled deforestation should be a prerequisite 2 for approval of the BR-319 and other road projects. A delay in reconstructing the highway 3 would be advisable until appropriate changes can be effected. More fundamentally, Brazil 4 needs to undergo a transition whereby the centuries-old tradition of granting land rights to 5 migrants who invade areas of forest is ended. This means of providing an escape valve for the 6 country’s many problems must be replaced with improved employment opportunities in both 7 urban and rural areas before the transition is forced upon the country by decimation of the 8 forest. 9 10 Acknowledgments 11 12 The Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq: Proc. 13 470765/01-1) and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA: PPI 1-1005) 14 provided financial support. E. M. Nogueira assisted in the fieldwork and R. I. Barbosa 15 provided valuable comments. We thank the settlers and others along BR-319 for their 16 patience and cooperation. Four reviewers and the journal’s editorial board provided valuable 17 comments. 18 19 Literature Cited 20 21 Abdala, I. 1996. “Governo retoma o projeto do asfalto da Manaus-Caracaraí.” Amazonas em 22 Tempo [Manaus] 29 January 1996. p. 8. 23 24 Almeida, P. 2005. “Empresários defendem a BR-319.” Amazonas em Tempo [Manaus] 29 25 March 2005. p. B-6. 26 27 Amazonas em Tempo. 2005a. “Rodovia BR-319 será o corredor de agricultura familiar”. 28 Amazonas em Tempo [Manaus]. 5 June 2005, p. A-5. 29 30 Amazonas em Tempo. 2005b. “Demarcação de terras em Tapauá gera polêmica”. Amazonas 31 em Tempo [Manaus]. 17 June 2005, p. B-7. 32 33 Banega, A., and A. Simonetti. 2005. “Alfredo garante: Enfim, a BR-319 será recuperada.” 34 Amazonas em Tempo [Manaus]. 6 March 2005, p. B-4. 35 36 Brazil, BNDES.1998. Transporte na região amazônica. Cadernos de Infra-Estrutura No. 7, 37 BNDES, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. 114 pp. 38 http://www.finame.com.br/conhecimento/cadernos/aicad_07.pdf 39 40 Brazil, IBGE. 2005. IBGE. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Rio de 41 Janerio, RJ, Brazil. http://www.ibge.gov.br 42 43 Brazil, Ministério de Planejamento, Orçamento e Gestão (MPOG). 2004. PPA 2004-2007. 44 Lista Geral de Projetos de Infra-estrutura. Setembro 2004. MPOG, Brasília, DF, 45 Brazil. http://www.planobrasil.gov.br/arquivos/57_(LivroVermelhonov2004).pdf 46 47 Brazil, PIN (Programa de Integração Nacional). 1972. Colonização da Amazônia. PIN, 48 Brasília, DF, Brazil. 32 pp. 49
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1 Soares-Filho, B. S., D. C. Nepstad, L. M. Curran, G. C. Cerqueira; R. A. Garcia, C. A. 2 Ramos, E. Voll, A. McDonald, P. Lefebvre, and P. Schlesinger. 2006. Modelling 3 conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520-523. 4 5 Thomas, W.I. and D. S. Thomas. 1928. The child in America: Behavior problems and 6 programs. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, U.S.A., 602 pp. 7 8 Turner, F. J. 1893. The significance of the frontier in American history, Proceedings of the 9 American Historical Association for 1893, Pages 199-222. Reprinted in expanded 10 form: The frontier in American history. Dover Publications, Mineola, NY, U.S.A., 11 384 pp. (1996). 12
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1 2 FIGURE LEGENDS 3 4 Figure 1 – Brazil with locations mentioned in the text. 5 6 Figure 2 – The BR-319 Highway. 7 8 Figure 3 – Per-capita income in Brazilian states in 2002 (data source: IPIB 2005). Values in 9 Reais in 2002 (US$1 = R$ 2.28). “Rich” states have per-capita income over R$8000. 10 Abbreviations of federative units: AC=Acre, AL=Alagoas, AM=Amazonas AP=Amapá 11 BA=Bahia CE=Ceará DF=Distrito Federal ES=Espirito Santo, GO=Goiás, MA=Maranhão, 12 MS=Mato Grosso do Sul, MT-Mato Grosso, PA=Pará, PE=Pernambuco, PI=Piauí, 13 PR=Paraná, RJ=Rio de Janeiro, RN=Rio Grande do Norte, RO=Rondônia, RR=Roraima, 14 RS=Rio Grande do Sul, SC=Santa Catarina, SE=Sergipe, SP=São Paulo, TO=Tocantins. 15 16 17
Fig. 1
... No bioma amazônico essa apropriação é seguida de uma rápida tentativa de supressão total ou parcial da floresta da área, de forma a evidenciar a posse e consequentemente a solicitação, aos órgãos competentes, da propriedade daquela área, além de ganho com a valorização da terra já desmatada (FEARNSIDE e ALENCASTRO GRAÇA, 2006;FELLOWS et al., 2021;MARGULIS, 2003;TORRES, DOBLAS e ALARCON, 2017). ...
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O Relatório de Qualidade do Meio Ambiente - RQMA Brasil 2020 visa sistematizar, consolidar e divulgar para a sociedade o estado da qualidade do meio ambiente no País, abordando questões ambientais de âmbito nacional, organizadas nos temas Atmosfera, Água, Terra, Biodiversidade, Florestas, Ambiente Costeiros e Marinho, Ambiente Urbano e Economia Verde. O capítulo 8, ‘Economia Verde’, cuja inserção no RQMA brasileiro ocorre pela primeira vez a partir desta edição, busca relatar avanços ocorridos ao longo dos últimos anos rumo à adoção de atividades econômicas mais sustentáveis (sob os pontos de vista econômico, social e ambiental). No capítulo, adota-se o conceito cunhado pelo Pnuma (2010, 2011), segundo o qual Economia Verde é “aquela que resulta na melhoria do bem-estar humano e da equidade social, ao mesmo tempo em que reduz significativamente os riscos ambientais e a escassez ecológica”. O capítulo trata de sete temas com potencial de alavancar a transição para uma Economia Verde, incluindo: Agropecuária Sustentável, Economia Circular, Bioeconomia, Empregos Verdes, Transição Energética, Contratações Públicas Sustentáveis e Turismo Sustentável.
... Highway BR-319 ( Fig. 1) would connect the notorious ''arc of deforestation'' in southern Amazonia to Manaus in central Amazonia (Fearnside and Graça 2006). This road was built in the early 1970s and was abandoned in 1988; since 2015, a ''maintenance'' program has made it marginally passable during the dry season, and the road is now planned for ''reconstruction.'' ...
... In Amazonas State, most of the public land that has been occupied in the expectation of future legalization is in federal undesignated land, and most of the state undesignated public land is not yet under this pressure because it is located further from roads and existing occupation (Almeida et al. 2021). However, new roads are expected to advance the cattle-ranching frontier from the southern to the central part of the state and allow deforestation to reach an enormous block of intact state undesignated forest located to the west of the Purus River (Fearnside and Graça 2006). This "Trans-Purus" area has great importance for the Brazilian Amazon's environmental services, such as maintaining the region's biodiversity, carbon stock, and hydrological cycle ). ...
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Fearnside, P.M. 2020. BR-163: A rodovia Santarém-Cuiabá e o custo ambiental de asfaltar um corredor de soja na Amazônia. p. 245-263. In: Fearnside, P.M. (ed.) Destruição e Conservação da Floresta Amazônica, Vol. 1. Editora do INPA, Manaus. 368 p. ISBN: 978-85-211-0193-2. (no prelo). Disponível em: http://philip.inpa.gov.br
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Fearnside, P.M. 1989. Ocupação Humana de Rondônia: Impactos, Limites e Planejamento. Relatórios de Pesquisa No. 5, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brasília, DF, Brazil. 76 pp.
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1. Brazilian Indian policy: an historical overview Part I. The Economic History of the Brazilian Amazon, 1940 to 1970: 2. Development plans in the postwar period 3. The significance of the military coup of 1964 Part II. Contemporary Indian Policy in Brazil, 1970 to 1975: 4. The Villas Boas brothers and Indian policy in Brazil 5. Pacification expeditions along the Trans-Amazon highway network 6. The invasion of the Aripuana Indian Park 7. Indain policy and the amazon mining frontier Part III. The Social and Ecological Effects of the Polamazonia Program, 1975 to 1979: 8. The rise of agribusiness in Brazil 9. The deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon 10. The Amazon Basin: implications for US foreign policy in Brazil Notes Bibliography Index.
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