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Jusqu'au bout de la forêt? Causes et mécanismes de la déforestation en Amazonie brésilienne

Author(s): François-Michel Le Tourneau

Journal: M@ppemonde
ISSN 1769-7298

Issue: 75;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Amazonie brésilienne | Analyse régionale | Bœuf | Déforestation | Dynamiques territoriales | Soja | Brazilian Amazonia | Cattle | Deforestation | Regional analysis | Soya | Territorial trends

This paper looks at deforestation in the Brazilian Amazonia. It seeks first to define the locus of the problem — the so-called «legal» Amazonia — and the regions most affected by logging. It then reviews the causes and actors of deforestation, highlighting older, persistent trends (the alliance between the logging industry and cattle farmers, for example) and new trends (such as soya growing). Lastly, it reveals the overriding importance of politics in deforestation and the ambiguous position of the Brazilian federal government, which, alongside undeniable measures to protect the forest, makes economic or political calculations (such as pushing through agrarian reform by settling thousands of peasants in Amazonia) that endanger it. Deforestation thus seems more an indicator of which of the two aspects — short-term economic development or long-term management of natural resources — is favoured by the government in power. In the light of the priority given to fast economic growth by Luis Inácio «Lula» da Silva's government, clearing seems set to increase over the upcoming years.
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