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Project Amazonia: Solutions


            Given the current rates of deforestation, it has been suggested that the Amazon Rainforest will be mostly deforested by the end of the century4.  As the greatest manifestation of biodiversity in the world, this would represent nothing short of an ecological catastrophe.  Although the problems residing behind the deforestation of the Amazon are convoluted and complex, Project Amazonia has developed some possible solutions to try to curb deforestation rates.

Note: As with most of the rest of this website, attention has been focused specifically to threats of the Amazon within Brazil.  Most of the Amazon resides within Brazil and many of the solutions we develop would probably be transferable to other regions with minimal adaptation.

            Most of the problems leading to deforestation within the Amazon stem from the activities of those living within its confines.  Therefore, the majority of the solutions that the project has developed deal specifically with different groups living within the Amazon and how the government and external organizations can cooperate with the people to counter destructive practices within the rainforest.  Other solutions deal with the infrastructure of Brazil and its energy resources, attempting to find more efficient, economic and ecologically friendly means by which the lifeblood of Brazil can be maintained.

            Outlined below are the major solutions we feel could potentially help to preserve the rainforest and its inhabitants.  These solutions can be explored in greater depth by clicking on the links within the summary or at the top of the page.

Land Rights of Indigenous People

             Although they have inhabited the lands of the Amazon Rainforest for hundreds of years, the indigenous tribes of the Amazon are under intense pressure from other peoples for the claim to the lands they inhabit.  The indigenous peoples require adequate land for their culture, knowledge and way of life to survive, but there is currently insufficient legislation to ensure the maintenance of indigenous lands.

             Project Amazonia proposes legislation to ensure that a minimum amount of land is set aside for indigenous peoples.  On top of this, it is recommended that the government be held accountable to this minimum standard by indigenous groups, external organizations, etc.  Finally, the Project recommends that a government organization be established for the collection of indigenous knowledge on natural resources and the reimbursement of the indigenous tribes for this knowledge.

 Sustainable Land Management for Landless Farmers (Land Distribution / Agricultural Solution)

            Within the Amazon are scores of low-income, landless farmers who settle on whatever land they can find, farming it for a living until they are forced to relocate and find another patch of land.  However, because the farmers do not have a large income nor the resources with which to buy the equipment to practice sustainable agricultural methods, they resort to unsustainable agricultural practices that deplete the land of nutrients.  As these farmers move they clear the land in order to farm it, causing a significant amount of deforestation.

            As a result, Project Amazonia has developed possible solution to this cycle that involves the leasing of lands by the government to landless farmers.  Under this scenario, lands purchased by the government would be leased to farmers in return for a deposit depending on the quality of the land.  The government would educate the farmers on sustainable land practices, allowing the farmers to develop their establishments and increase profits without fear of being removed from their land.  At any time the farmers can choose to leave the land, at which point the government will return a portion of the deposit depending on the final health of the land.

            Not only would this program increase the living conditions of farmers within the Amazon, but it could potentially decrease deforestation from unsustainable agricultural practices and generate revenue for states to pursue internal improvements.  Click here for a more comprehensive explanation of the Sustainable Land Management plan.

Energy Resources

            The majority of the energy produced within Brazil is generated within hydroelectric power stations (58 of 64 GW)5.  However, this source of energy is frequently at the mercy of nature and if an especially dry year ravages the Amazon, power shortages are experienced.  This was recently experienced in 2001 when severe droughts lowered reservoirs causing an energy crisis.

            In response, Project Amazonia researched various alternative energy sources, comparing economic, ecological and practical benefits.  While renewable resources such as wind and solar power are the most ecologically friendly alternatives currently available, they would also be at the mercy of nature and would not necessarily solve energy crises in Brazil.  After consideration, however, a combination of fluidized bed coal combustion and combustion turbine power plants seem to be the most viable, relatively clean alternative.


            Rich in minerals, the Amazon presents an alluring opportunity for those willing to mine its depths.  However, the current practices by which miners and companies extract gold and ores leads to the degradation of the surrounding lands.  Not only are the mining sites deforested and the lands severely disturbed, but toxic chemicals that are used in refining processes, such as mercury and cyanide, are frequently improperly contained and end up seeping into the wilderness damaging the surrounding lands and wildlife.

            Project Amazonia has developed a suggestion for how mining techniques could be improved within the Amazon.  By improving mining techniques, companies could retain gold lost in accidental spills, increasing profits, and the environment could be protected from these toxic chemicals.  Click here for an in-depth look into Project Amazonia's ecologically friendly mining plan.

Health Care for Indigenous Peoples

            Because of the seclusion of indigenous peoples from external civilization for hundreds of centuries, many tribes have not built up the immune defenses necessary to withstand many diseases.  As these tribes come in further contact with other peoples they  are susceptible to succumbing to the same diseases these peoples have built up defenses against.  As a result, many indigenous groups have become infected with a number of devastating diseases such as smallpox and influenza.  However, because medical resources are so difficult to maintain in the depths of the Amazon, access to proper medical attention is limited and difficult.

            Project Amazonia has developed the beginnings of a solution to being adequate health care to those tribes in the Amazon wishing to receive it.  The plan calls for the creation of base medical centers stationed throughout the Amazon and mobile medical centers that could respond to threats and provide basic health supplies.  Through the plan, surveys would be done of indigenous tribes to determine how they could be best supported and resources could be offered accordingly.

International Solution for Sustainable Ranching

            Although beef is one of the major exports of the Brazilian economy, the methods that are practice to fill this market are a major cause of deforestation.  The clearing of lands for grazing fields removes many of the nutrients stored within the vegetation.  Those nutrients that do remain are used to create the grass that is subsequently absorbed by the cattle.  As a result, lands are rapidly depleted of nutrients and new regions must be found for cattle ranching.

            Under the plan prescribed by Project Amazonia, an organization would be developed – the International Solution for Sustainable Ranching (ISSR) – to certify that ranchers follow practices specified by the “Good-Grazing Guidelines” (GGG).  Products produced by ranchers complying with GGG would be stamped with the ISSR's approval.  As well, the ISSR would be responsible for marketing an awareness campaign to major cities promoting the ecological benefits of “rainforest-friendly” beef.

Infrastructure Development

            The creation of transportation networks through the Amazon Rainforest frequently leads to increased deforestation in the regions surrounding the transportation systems.  As roads open up more regions of the Amazon, immigration to these new frontiers increases.  The new inhabitants frequently start up new farms and ranches causing an increase in local deforestation and the opening of even more surrounding terrain.

            While little can be done to prevent immigration directly, Project Amazonia has a couple of suggestions to limit immigration to these areas and repair damage caused by the development of infrastructure.  In particular the plan recommends that, where possible, alternative modes of transportation (i.e. railroads) be used for the development of infrastructure. 

            Also, the plan recommends that the industry responsible for the creation of and use of the developed infrastructure be held accountable for the repair of the surrounding countryside.  The companies would then be responsible for the reforestation of damaged lands or the sponsorship of programs to repair the lands.  Click here for more information on Project Amazonia's plans to make infrastructure development more ecologically friendly.

Indexation of Forest Health

            In order to assess the relative viability and health of forest within the Amazon, Project Amazonia attempted to develop a numbering system to characterize the health in given areas.  While we did not actually succeed in developing our own numbering system, we present some research into how relative assessments of different properties are made.


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