Frontier Expansion in Amazonia

Frontier Expansion in Amazonia

Frontier Expansion in Amazonia

Frontier Expansion in Amazonia

Synopsis

In a timely look at Amazonian development, the authors focus on the effects of colonization on indigenous populations, on settlement of the Amazon region, on environmental issues of resource management and agriculture, and on prospects for equitable economic development of the frontier.

Excerpt

Charles Wagley

IT HAS BEEN ten years since the first conference on the Amazon region was held at the University of Florida. This earlier conference, which resulted in the publication of Man in the Amazon (Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida Press, 1974), was stimulated by the renewed interest of Brazil in the development of the huge portion of that nation which is part of Amazonia. In 1973 the construction of the Transamazon Highway and the linked road systems that were to break the isolation of the region from the rest of the nation was well underway.

Most of the papers in Man in the Amazon are concerned with the background of the region, its environment, and the situation of the indigenous people and their history; or they are focused upon such applied problems as soils, agriculture, health, and education. In 1982, the second conference on the Amazon was held at the University of Florida, entitled Frontier Expansion in Amazonia. This conference focused upon policies, both explicit and implicit, of the various Amazon countries in regard to the development of their Amazon territories. Such policies are especially crucial today since it seems inevitable that this last great frontier of the world will be occupied and "developed" in one way or another in the next generation. How will occupation proceed, what form of development will take place, and whose benefit will development serve? The answers to these questions depend to a large extent on the governments' policies. The extent of the penetration of central governments into Amazon occupation and future development ac-

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