The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon

By Lykke E. Andersen; Clive W. J. Granger et al. | Go to book overview

2
Development of the Brazilian Amazon

“Brazil almost overnight became an environmental villain when the ecopolitics of the world-system changed in the mid-1980's. ”

(Barbosa 2000)


The geographic focus: the Brazilian Legal Amazonia

The Amazon tropical rainforest covers approximately 5.5 million km2, of which 60 percent is located in Brazil, where it occupies 3.55 million km2, or nearly 40 percent of the national territory. This area of Brazil is called the North region, and consists of seven states: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Pará, and Goiás/Tocantins.1

Legal Amazonia refers to a slightly larger area, including Mato Grosso and parts of Maranhão2 (see figure 2.1). Legal Amazonia was defined for regional planning purposes, and this region is also the basis of our data set.3 It covers an area of approximately 5 million km2, or 58 percent of the national territory of Brazil.

Legal Amazonia is by no means a uniform forest biome. Though predominantly a tropical forest region, it comprises a complex mosaic of forests, savannahs, inundated lowlands, and steppes. In terms of major vegetation types, Legal Amazonia is composed of 68.2 percent closed and open dense forest, 3.0 percent seasonal forests, 15 percent savannahs or cerrados, 6.4 percent campinaranas, 2 percent wetlands, and 5.1 percent ecological transition vegetation (May and Reis 1993).

The term “Legal Amazonia” can occasionally cause confusion as it is a politically, rather than ecologically, demarcated region. In fact only about

____________________
1
The state of Tocantins was created in 1989, when it was separated from the state of Goiás. Since some of our data are from before the separation, we will use the term Goiás/Tocantins to refer to this part of Legal Amazonia.
2
The part west of meridian 44°W.
3
Some municipalities in Maranhão and Tocantins are only partly located within the official borders of Legal Amazonia. In our data set, however, we include whole municipalities, owing to the difficulty in splitting up many of our measures, such as federal transfers and infant mortality rates. This means that our data set actually covers a slightly larger area than what is officially known as Legal Amazonia.

-11-

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The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations xviii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Development of the Brazilian Amazon 11
  • 3 - The Municipal Database 36
  • 4 - The Sources and Agents of Deforestation 66
  • 5 - Alternatives to Deforestation: Extractivism 91
  • 6 - Modeling Deforestation and Development in the Brazilian Amazon 111
  • 7 - Carbon Emissions 152
  • 8 - The Costs and Benefits of Deforestation 167
  • 9 - Conclusions and Recommendations 200
  • Technical Appendix 209
  • References 241
  • Index 257
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