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

4
The sources and agents of deforestation

Suzuki (1990) has condensed these many causes into three emotive words: ignorance, injustice and greed.

(Brown and Brown 1992)

Deforestation is not an evil plot, it is something we do on purpose in order to feed and house the 6 billion and growing human population.

(Patrick Moore 2000)

In the 1970s 97 percent of Legal Amazonia was undisturbed and another 2 percent were fallow lands in the process of forest regeneration. Only about 1 percent of the area was being used actively for crops and planted pastures (see table 4.1). This has changed, but not as dramatically as many people have been led to believe. By 1995, less than 15 percent of the total area had been transformed from its original natural state.

Land-use in the Amazon is far from static. There are several different possible cycles depending on the remoteness of the plot, the quality of soils, the skills and resources of the farmer, and many other factors. In order to get a very general sense of the land-use transition patterns in Legal Amazonia, we categorize the land-use types into three main uses: crop land, fallow land, and planted pasture, and examine the probability that land allocated to one of these three uses will transition into a different use in the next five-year period. As we do not have data on the specific fate of any particular plot within each municipality, this is accomplished by estimating a land-use transition model. We define “uncleared” land as public land, private planted forest, private virgin forest, and private natural pasture. “Cleared” land is divided between crop land, planted pasture, and fallow land. Since this is a closed system, crop land in each period must come from one of four sources: newly cleared land, crop land from the previous period, fallow land from the previous period, or pasture land from the previous period. The same is true for fallow and pasture land.

-66-

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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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