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Balancing Ecosystem Protection and Human Development: Brazilian Deforestation
by CALVIN, SEAN OLIVER Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 8:07 PM

Yareli Sanchez IoES

Lijuan Zhao MURP

Sean Calvin MURP

Balancing Human Development and Ecosystem Protection

Brazilian Deforestation: A Battleground for Environmental Protectioni??

The Issue

Brazil is at the crossroads of balancing the tradeoffs between economic development and ecosystem protection. As concern over deforestation of the Amazon rainforest grows so does the pressure to curve development. Deforestation has led to biological losses and a 70% annual increase in carbon emissions[1] nationally. However, balancing ecosystem protection and economic development is complex in a region with a population of 20 million where the Amazon accounts for 62% of the land area. In the last three decades, deforestation has resulted in an area of lost forest equivalent to the size of France (roughly 63 million hectares). In a region where 21.4% of the population lives below the poverty line[2], and government corruption is commonplace, the illegal land grab continues to fragment the largest tropical rainforest in the world.

Key Players

There are six main players intertwined in the Brazilian deforestation fiasco: the government, corporations, indigenous peoples, non-profits, the tourism industry, and consumers across the globe. The Brazilian Government, led by Dilma Rousseff, has received flack for taking a weak stance on deforestation. Rousseff even helped passed legislation[3] that has reduced the amount of land loggers must set aside for protection. International corporations such as Nike[4], Adidas, and Reebok also play a role in pressuring the Brazilian government to weaken regulations. They, like many corporations, have become dependent on the raw resources extracted from the Amazon and largely ignore the damage they are reaping on the land. Additionally, the Indigenous tribes that live on the borders of the Amazon and other forest regions rely on timber, livestock, and other Amazonian resources for their livelihood. With most of their timber rights given to big corporations, many tribes have turned to illegal logging methods just to survive.

Not all of the vested interests see the Amazon as a source of profit; many local and international non-profits are banding together to preserve these diverse ecosystems. Greenpeace, for example, has started a campaign[5]entirely focused on reducing deforestation in the Amazon. In addition, the tourism industry is heavily invested in the welfare of the Amazon without the forest there will be no tourist, which will decimate the organizations and people that have come to depend on this as a source of revenue. The final, and perhaps most important, players in the equation are consumers. Purchasing meat raised on Amazonian sourced soy[6] and tropical hardwoods[7] continues the cycle of deforestation. Until consumers demand companiesstop contributing to deforestation, it is likely the problem will persist.

Sustainable Solutions

Programs like the UN-REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation, Degradation, and other land uses) are responsible for the protection of swathes of forested areas. REDD uses carbon offsetting as an economic incentive by which local communities preserve tropical rainforests instead of engaging in unsustainable extraction methods. Indigenous communities of the Amazon have begun laying the groundwork for REDD programs in conjunction with economic development plans that support traditional and sustainable practices[8]. Among them is eco-tourism[9]. Eco-tourism is Responsiblei?? tourism that aims to conserve natural areas, support cultural values, and provide livelihood for local people[10]. Tourists and the larger tourism industry can help support regrowth policies and preservation of key stretches of the Amazon. Tourism can bring a source of revenue for the indigenous peoples, local municipalities, and national government that are less dependent on resource extraction and deforestation as a source of income.

One of the fundamental strategies to protecting natural areas has been the establishment of national parks and protected areas. However, such practices often result in displacing local communities and fail to acknowledge how the establishment of protected areas impacts the livelihoods of the poor. In efforts to sustainably manage the growing and destructive timber industry, the Brazilian government can plan the creation of areas for managed timber production within an expanded National Forests system. The patchwork of protected areas, reserves, and areas for resource extraction can serve as corridors, for movement between protected areas, and protect an additional 15% of the Brazilian Amazon[11]. Solely implementing Protected Areas, for example, can potentially restrict economic development and result in illegal deforestation as local communities face restricted access to their livelihoods. Top-down managed traditional park is supported due to geographic scope, funding needs, and dangers of incorporating local communities. On the other side, extensive of research have been done to argue that the traditional park model increases monitoring costs and fails acknowledge local knowledge in resource management.


Conserving the worldS largest tropical forest is going to require a multidisciplinary approach. Developing a patchwork of protected areas and areas that sustain economic development should be science focused, ensuring habitat patches are large enough and sufficient corridors are present to ensure the survival of sensitive species. Community participation should then be employed to ensure the success of such endeavors. The suggestion is that environmental organizations, scientist, and government organizations should focus their efforts on setting sustainable approaches to trigger economic development, such as shifts to eco-tourism, developing markets for eco-friendly forest products, and providing help for start-up ventures that employ indigenous populations in sustainable occupations.


Balancing Ecosystem Protection and Human Development: A Review of the Water Supply in Los Angeles
by MOURON, JUSTINE MARIE Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 4:14 PM

Balancing Ecosystem Protection and Human Development: A Review of the Water Supply in Los Angeles

By Kana Kudo, Thomas Laursen, Justine Mouron

Human development inevitably has an impact on the ecosystem, which is the collection of organisms living in an area and the resources land, water, air, weather that support their livelihood. While new technologies allow us to extract more resources from the environment, we are depleting those resources more quickly than they are being regenerated. The best method for ensuring sustainable life for future generations is to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving resources and protecting the ecosystem. This delicate balance is made especially apparent in the city of Los Angeles, where our consumption of water greatly exceeds the rate at which our resources are being replenished. Since the mid-nineteenth century, L.A. has not stopped sprawling, spreading concrete and impermeable material on this already arid landscape, slowly depleting the ecosystem by preventing water from recycling. Today, 80% of the California is under extreme drought and the city of Los Angeles is one of the most affected areas(1), where water consumption is still 152 gallons/capita/day(2).

Water source distribution, city of Los Angeles(3)

Surface water Aqueducts and reservoirs


Northern California a