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1.  Environmental policy-making networks and the future of the Amazon 
This article examines four periods of environmental policy-making in the Amazon region of Brazil. It specifically analyses the role of pro-environment and pro-development policy networks in affecting policy design and implementation. It argues that the efforts of environmentalist networks trying to advocate or block relative developmentalist policies in the Amazon depend on three critical factors—whether they are able to attract the support of elites (or at least block their developmentalist policy initiatives); the type and level of international support they have; and the organizational and financial resources that they are able to mobilize. In analysing the four periods, this article finds that while international influences and resources have been substantial in enabling environmentalist networks to flourish and influence the policy, their effectiveness has been nearly always outweighed by Brazilian developmentalist interests. The outcome in each phase has been a different form of stalemate on environmental protection, and the deforestation continued each time, albeit at slower rates. These findings suggest that the key for significantly lower rates of deforestation on the Amazon may be in the ability of pro-environment networks to neutralize opposition by creating an incentive structure that ‘compensates’ potential losers of policies that promote conservation.
PMCID: PMC2375956  PMID: 18267895
Amazon; compensated reduction; avoided deforestation; Planafloro; policy networks; Brazil
2.  The future of the Amazon: new perspectives from climate, ecosystem and social sciences 
The potential loss or large-scale degradation of the tropical rainforests has become one of the iconic images of the impacts of twenty-first century environmental change and may be one of our century's most profound legacies. In the Amazon region, the direct threat of deforestation and degradation is now strongly intertwined with an indirect challenge we are just beginning to understand: the possibility of substantial regional drought driven by global climate change. The Amazon region hosts more than half of the world's remaining tropical forests, and some parts have among the greatest concentrations of biodiversity found anywhere on Earth. Overall, the region is estimated to host about a quarter of all global biodiversity. It acts as one of the major ‘flywheels’ of global climate, transpiring water and generating clouds, affecting atmospheric circulation across continents and hemispheres, and storing substantial reserves of biomass and soil carbon. Hence, the ongoing degradation of Amazonia is a threat to local climate stability and a contributor to the global atmospheric climate change crisis. Conversely, the stabilization of Amazonian deforestation and degradation would be an opportunity for local adaptation to climate change, as well as a potential global contributor towards mitigation of climate change. However, addressing deforestation in the Amazon raises substantial challenges in policy, governance, sustainability and economic science. This paper introduces a theme issue dedicated to a multidisciplinary analysis of these challenges.
PMCID: PMC2367686  PMID: 18267894
tropical forest; deforestation; climate change; fire; Amazonia; Brazil

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