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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-144
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-144
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 May 2019

Research article | 23 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Examining the sustainability and development challenge in agricultural-forest frontiers of the Amazon Basin through the eyes of locals

Irene Blanco-Gutiérrez1,2, Rhys Manners3, Consuelo Varela-Ortega1,2, Ana Tarquis1,4, Lucieta G. Martorano5, and Marisol Toledo6 Irene Blanco-Gutiérrez et al.
  • 1CEIGRAM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), C/ Senda del Rey 13, 28040, Madrid, Spain
  • 2Department of Agricultural Economics, Statistics and Business Management, ETSIAAB, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Av. Complutense s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
  • 3International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), KG 563, Kigali, Rwanda
  • 4Department of Applied Mathematics, ETSIAAB, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Av. Complutense s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
  • 5EMBRAPA Eastern Amazon, Trav. Dr. Enéas Pinheiro s/n° Caixa Postal, 48, CEP 66.095-100 Belém, Brazil
  • 6Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal, Km 9 Carretera al Norte, El Vallecito, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

Abstract. The Amazon basin is the world’s largest rainforest and the most biologically diverse place on Earth. Despite the critical importance of this region, Amazon forests continue inexorably to be degraded and deforested for various reasons, mainly a consequence of agricultural expansion. The development of novel policy strategies that provide balanced solutions, associating economic growth and environmental protection, is still challenging, largely because the perspective of those most affected- local stakeholders- is often ignored. Participatory Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM) was implemented to examine stakeholder perceptions towards the sustainable development of two agricultural-forest frontier areas in the Bolivian and Brazilian Amazon. A series of development scenarios and a climate change scenario were explored and applied to stakeholder derived FCM. Stakeholders in both regions perceived landscapes of socio-economic impoverishment and environmental degradation driven by governmental and institutional deficiencies. Under such abject conditions, governance and well-integrated social and technological strategies offered socio-economic development, environmental conservation, and resilience to climatic changes. The results suggest the benefits of a new type of thinking for development strategies in the Amazon basin, and that continued application of traditional development policies reduce the resilience of the Amazon to climate change, whilst limiting socio-economic development and environmental conservation.

Irene Blanco-Gutiérrez et al.
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Irene Blanco-Gutiérrez et al.
Irene Blanco-Gutiérrez et al.
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Short summary
The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed, resulting in negative ecological and social impacts. We explore how stakeholders perceive the causes of the Amazon’s degradation in Bolivia and Brazil and develop a series of scenarios to help strengthen the balance between human development and environmental conservation. The results suggest that the application of governance and well-integrated technical and social reform strategies encourage positive regional changes even under climate change.
The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed, resulting in negative ecological and social impacts....
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