Edited by Ronaldo Seroa da Motta
Chapter 7: Public policies and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
7. Public policies and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon* Carlos Eduardo Frickmann Young 7.1 THE CAUSES OF MIGRATION AND DEFORESTATION IN THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON The literature on Brazilian development has consistently emphasised the damaging social and economic consequences of land tenure concentration. Production on tiny properties – ‘minifúndios’ – tends to be insufﬁcient to afford subsistence levels of wellbeing to all members of the family. Extra income, obtained from labouring in cash-oriented farms, is often necessary to complement the household budget. On the other hand, very large estates – ‘latifúndios’ – are not labour-intensive. Seasonal demand for extra labour during planting and harvesting is easily covered by landless agricultural workers, hired on a daily basis (bóias-frias). As a consequence of both effects, the rural labour market tends to be unstable and seasonal, unable to employ all the labour surplus. Squatting and other forms of land conﬂict, and migration to open access land in the frontier or to urban centres, become the ultimate options for the landless agricultural work force. Historically, the expansion of the agricultural frontier into forest areas has been used as a ‘safety valve’ to accommodate landless farmers. Therefore, forest areas have been reduced considerably in the Southeast, South and part of the Northeast regions, where agricultural activities have been established for a long time. The strategy of ‘peopleless land for landless people’, rather than agrarian reform in already occupied land, was pursued with particular intensity during the military regime (1964–85). Consequently, there was a considerable...
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