Hot off the press

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Hot off the press
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 11:25:54 +1000
The following item will be of interest to people interested in the
conservation of the Amazon.

Boom-and-Bust Development Patterns Across the Amazon Deforestation
Ana S. L. Rodrigues,1,2,3,* Robert M. Ewers,4 Luke Parry,5 Carlos
Souza, Jr.,6 Adalberto Veríssimo,6Andrew Balmford1
Science 12 June 2009:  Vol. 324. no. 5933, pp. 1435 - 1437

The Brazilian Amazon is globally important for biodiversity, climate, and geochemical cycles, but is also among the least developed regions in Brazil. Economic development is often pursued through forest
conversion for cattle ranching and agriculture, mediated by logging.
However, on the basis of an assessment of 286 municipalities in
different stages of deforestation, we found a boom-and-bust pattern in levels of human development across the deforestation frontier.
Relative standards of living, literacy, and life expectancy increase
as deforestation begins but then decline as the frontier evolves, so
that pre- and postfrontier levels of human development are similarly
low. New financial incentives and policies are creating opportunities for a more sustained development trajectory that is not based on the
depletion of nature and ecosystem services.

In particular:

"Our results show that, in net terms, people in municipalities that
have cleared their forests are not better off than those in
municipalities that have not (Fig. 2). The current development pattern in the Brazilian Amazon is therefore far from desirable in terms of
either human development or the conservation of natural
resources." (p. 1436)

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