Understanding the Destruction of the Amazon Rainforest: The Contribution of Environmental History


Aug 19, 2003

Understanding the Destruction of the Amazon Rainforest: The Contribution of Environmental History​

Date & Time Tuesday, 30 May 2023, 3 - 4pm

Venue Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute

An in-person lecture by Prof José Augusto Pádua (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) organised by the School of Histories and Humanities.

In recent years, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, especially in Brazil, has once again been in the news worldwide, with images of huge fires provoking strong reactions internationally. With the major setback produced by Jair Bolsonaro's government on deforestation control policies, the annual rate of deforestation has grown by nearly 57% since 2018. However, a deeper understanding of this phenomenon needs to take a broader historical perspective. In the early 1970s, the coverage of that huge forest was still 98%. In other words, massive deforestation is a recent phenomenon.

Earlier historical processes, including the so-called "rubber boom" of the late 19th century, had not led to major deforestation. The so-called "decades of destruction" between 1970 and 2000 were born of a geopolitical project rather than economic necessity. The social and environmental chaos caused by that project, promoted by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1984, greatly increased the loss of forest cover, which now stands at 80%. Between 2004 and 2014, successful policies managed to reduce annual deforestation by more than 83%.

A lucid discussion of these different moments needs to adopt an environmental history view that clarifies the deeper structural and conjunctural processes behind the fire phenomenon. Among the issues that the conference will seek to discuss, we can mention the specific biophysical characteristics of the Amazonian environment, the traditional lifestyles of forest peoples, the land tenure system (especially the process of occupation of public lands) and the specific social actors that produce deforestation.

Finally, this lecture will discuss examples of public policies and social mobilizations that can contribute to avoid the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the terrible effects this would have on the local and planetary environment.

Please indicate if you have any access requirements, such as ISL/English interpreting, so that we can facilitate you in attending this event. Contact: [email protected]

Campus Location: Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Event Category: Lectures and Seminars
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Postgrad, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free
Contact Name: Dr Diogo De Carvalho Cabral
Contact Email: [email protected]