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Agrarian Reform in the Brazilian Amazon: Its Implications for Land Distribution and Deforestation

  • Pacheco, Pablo
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    Summary This paper examines the interactions between state-led land reform, agrarian structures, and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Land reform tends to promote land redistribution through regularization of smallholder land invasions of large-scale landholdings, and by redistribution of public lands to smallholders in existing colonization frontiers. The implications of state-led land reform on deforestation are heterogeneous. I argue that impacts of agrarian reform are strongly related to the pre-existing social and economic configuration of the frontiers where it takes place. While it leads to lower rates of deforestation in landscapes dominated by smallholders with diversified land use, its impact on forest conversion is higher in landscapes where extensive land use, mainly prompted by large-scale cattle ranching, tends to dominate. I provide an assessment for the whole Brazilian Amazon, and examine two research sites in the state of Pará, namely Uruará and Redenção. The study is based on informant interviews, secondary information, agricultural census data, and remote sensing data.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VC6-4WBR6MM-1/2/6f534282e1f86d3993dec6b874caafee
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1337-1347

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:8:p:1337-1347
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    1. Fearnside, Philip M., 2001. "Land-Tenure Issues as Factors in Environmental Destruction in Brazilian Amazonia: The Case of Southern Para," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1361-1372, August.
    2. Binswanger, Hans P., 1991. "Brazilian policies that encourage deforestation in the Amazon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 821-829, July.
    3. Sergio Margulis, 2004. "Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15060, June.
    4. Kaimowitz, David, 1995. "Livestock and deforestation in Central America in the 1980s and 1990s: a policy perspective," EPTD discussion papers 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Alston, Lee J. & Libecap, Gary D. & Mueller, Bernardo, 2000. "Land Reform Policies, the Sources of Violent Conflict, and Implications for Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 162-188, March.
    6. Lee J. Alston & Bernardo Mueller, 2007. "Legal Reserve Requirements in Brazilian Forests: Path Dependent Evolution of De Facto Legislation," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 8(4), pages 25_53.
    7. Perz, Stephen G. & Walker, Robert T., 2002. "Household Life Cycles and Secondary Forest Cover Among Small Farm Colonists in the Amazon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1009-1027, June.
    8. Chomitz, Kenneth M. & Thomas, Timothy S., 2001. "Geographic patterns of land use and land intensity in the Brazilian Amazon," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2687, The World Bank.
    9. Vera-Diaz, Maria del Carmen & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Nepstad, Daniel C. & Schlesinger, Peter, 2008. "An interdisciplinary model of soybean yield in the Amazon Basin: The climatic, edaphic, and economic determinants," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 420-431, April.
    10. Sikor, Thomas & Müller, Daniel, 2009. "The Limits of State-Led Land Reform: An Introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1307-1316, August.
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