Luiz Carlos B. Molion
Philip M. Fearnside
Koy Thomson and
Susanna B. Hecht
Christopher Uhl et al.
The Ecologist Volume 19, No. 6, November/December 1989
AMAZON SPECIAL ISSUE —— — Editorial Amazonia: The Future in the Balance 207 The Presentation of The Ecologist's Deforestation Petition to the UN 210
Feature Articles The Amazonian Forests and Climatic Stability 211 The stability of regional and global climatic mechanisms are threatened by the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Globally, deforestation could reduce the transfer of heat from the tropics to temperate zones and greatly exacerbate the greenhouse effect. Regionally, hydrological cycles would be severely disrupted. Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia: The Rates and Causes 214 Although only a small proportion of Amazonia has been cleared, the rate of destruction is virtually exponential and i f it continues the forests wil l be gone in a matter of decades. Ranching, colonization and industrialization are current ly the main causes of this destruction with logging gaining in importance. Transnational and Oil in Amazonia 219
Transnational corporations are involved in almost every major sector of the economies of the Amazonian countries. In exploring and extracting oil in the rainforest, these companies are prepared to break their own and their host countries' environmental guidelines and are opening up even the most remote areas to settlers and speculators. The Militarization and Industrialization of Amazonia 225 Two massive programmes, Calha Norte and Grande Carajas, are set to destroy a large proportion of Brazilian Amazonia. The former programme is using 'na tional security' as an excuse to open up a vast area of Indian lands to mineral exploitation, and the latter is devastating huge tracts of Eastern Amazonia for pig iron smelters. The Sacred Cow in the Green Hell 229 It is commonly thought that government subsidies and the export of beef to the US and Europe are the driving forces behind the rapid expansion of ranching in Amazonia. However, the main attraction of cattle ranching lies in land specula tion. Disturbance and Regeneration in Amazonia 235 An understanding of how the forest recovers from both natural and man-made disturbances is vital i f we are to assess what forms of land use might prove sus tainable, and how we can regenerate degraded land. Alternatives to Forest Destruction: Lessons from the Mebengokre Indians 241 The Indians of the Amazon, far from being 'primitive' and 'incapable', have much to teach modern society as to how to exploit sustainably the resources of the forest. The Brazilian Forest People's Movement 245 Putting the control of the forests into the hands of the people who make their living from them is a prerequisite for any strategy of forest conservation. In Brazil, rubber tappers and Indians are starting to organize against their ex ploiters, and in striving for economic independence are also striving to defend the forest.
The Ecologist, Vol. 19, No. 6, November/December 1989