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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 May 27;363(1498):1897-902. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2007.0038.

Environmental policy-making networks and the future of the Amazon.

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James Martin 21st Century Fellows, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK.


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.

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