Natural Resource Valuation and Policy in Brazil: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Valuation and Policy in Brazil: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Valuation and Policy in Brazil: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Valuation and Policy in Brazil: Methods and Cases

Synopsis

Brazil's environmental problems, especially Amazon deforestation, have attracted considerable attention, particularly in the developed world. Peter May brings a sharper and more critical focus to bear on this topic by offering a general overview and seven microeconomic case studies on particular problems in the Brazilian environment. Focusing on discrete resource problems at a subnational scale, this practical book shows how work at the state and local level can lead to more sustainable development policies not only in Brazil but also in many other developing nations. Uniting specific Brazilian applications of more general principles of natural resource and environmental valuation to support policy-making for land use and economic development, Natural Resource Valuation and Policy in Brazil shows how such methods support efforts to incorporate environmental concerns in decision-making processes.

Excerpt

The widespread exhaustion and degradation of natural resources in Brazil today exhibit characteristics similar to those found in many developing nations. Although Brazil is an emerging nation with a modern industrial sector and sophisticated commercial agriculture, poverty persists for the majority of the nation's population of over 160 million. Over much of Brazil's hinterland, marginalized rural communities dependent on natural resources for their survival coexist with large enterprises that extract these resources as raw materials for the production of consumer goods and commodities for an ever more globalized market. Both types of actors are responsible in some measure for the degradation that has occurred. the former are victims of an unequal society that has often expelled them from lands they formerly cultivated, forcing them to occupy fragile frontier territories. the latter, whose actions obey the logic of international capital, intensify their activities in search of ever greater profits.

This process is by no means new. the history of Brazil is marked by cycles whose economic flows are strongly linked to patterns of land and resource use. a deeply rooted perception of a society with unbounded horizons, based on the sheer immensity of its territory and untapped natural wealth, created a false sense of optimism regarding perspectives for growth and satisfaction of the society's needs. Nevertheless, constraints on effective access to natural resources by the majority of the rural population continue to restrict their efficient and sustainable use.

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