Forest Economies: A Remedy to Amazonian Deforestation?

Main Article Content

Juan José del Valle Coello


Commonly described as the “lungs of the planet,” the Amazon rainforest represents over half of the remaining rainforest in the world, constituting an important global carbon sink and one of the most culturally- and biologically-diverse regions of the world. The past half-century has seen a worrisome amount of deforestation in this rainforest, but different regions within the Amazon, however, compare differently in terms of deforestation trajectories. What has been the role of products obtained from managing forests, such as the now globally-consumed açaí palm fruit, in reverting deforestation trends? My hypothesis is that there is a statistically significant negative correlation between such forest products and extent of deforestation. This study examines, within the historical and social context of the Amazon Delta and Estuary, the relationship between açaí agroforestry and deforestation. The focus units are the municípios (roughly equivalent to counties) that constitute the Amazon Delta and Estuary, all located in the northern Brazilian states of Amapá and Pará. Statistical data for deforestation obtained from PRODES, a Brazilian governmental project, which monitors deforestation via satellite, is used to ascertain deforestation in the region. This dataset is then correlated with census-based production data for each município for the period from 2002 to 2012. Mapping these variables onto municípios does visually demonstrate a contrast between areas of high deforestation and high açaí production; however, the relationship is not statistically significant.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
del Valle Coello, J. J. (2016). Forest Economies: A Remedy to Amazonian Deforestation?. IU Journal of Undergraduate Research, 2(1), 63–71.
Social Sciences


"Amazon: Lungs of the planet" (2014). BBC. Retrieved from

Balée, W. (2013). Cultural Forests of the Amazon: A Historical Ecology of People and Their Landscapes. Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press. Brondízio, E.S. (2008). The Amazonian Caboclo and the Açaí Palm: Forest Farmers in the Global Market. Bronx, N.Y: The New York Botanical Garden Press.

Brondízio, E.S., & Moran, E.F. (2012). Level-dependent deforestation trajectories in the Brazilian Amazon from 1970 to 2001. Population and Environment. 34(1), 69-85. doi: 10.1007/s11111-011-0159-8

Brondízio E.S. & Siqueira, A.D. (1997). From extractivists to forest farmers: Changing concepts of agricultural intensification and peasantry in the Amazon estuary. Research in Economic Anthropology, 18, 233-279.

Butler, R. A. (2015). The Amazon: The World’s Largest Rainforest. Retrieved from

Deforestation in the Amazon accumulated by the year 2012 (2013). IMAZON. Retrieved from 9: Local açaí processing (Photo E. Brondízio, 2007).