50 Years of Change in Amazonia – A Land System Science Perspective

Authors: Eugenio Arima*, The University of Texas at Austin
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Latin America, Environment
Keywords: deforestation, tropics, cattle and soy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Tropical deforestation is of great concern to scientists and the public at large because of its deleterious effects on climate, biodiversity, and other Earth systems. Nowhere has tropical deforestation been more dramatic than in the Brazilian Amazon where an estimated 40 million ha of forests were replaced by crops and pastures in the last 50 years. The paper focus on three major events throughout this period: a) the opening of the frontier; b) evolution of the cattle and soy economy; c) the rise of environmentalism and the environment as an economic asset. This paper provides a synthesis from a land system science perspective, interspaced with the presenter’s views from the field. Emphasis is given not only on the drivers but more importantly on the underlying causes of changes observed in Amazonia between the 1960s to the present. The paper concludes with insights into the political battle that will define the future of Amazonia under the newly elected president.

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