Infrastructural Development Projects In The Brazilian Amazonia: Controversies Over Hydroelectric Dams Construction, Eco-Social Impacts And Rainforest Landscape Change, A Political And Human Ecology Approach
This paper examines dams constructions in the Brazilian Amazonia, their impacts on traditional peoples, biodiversity and landscape. Political ecology and human ecology are disciplines used to shed light on the case study. Balbina, Tucurí and Belo Monte Dams built in the middle of Amazonia draw special attention. The history of occupation and of development of the Brazilian Amazonia has been a continuum of anthropogenic interventions on nature, landscapes, natural resources, and of “assault” on autochthonous populations – indigenous and traditional ones. It has been a development with the predominance of negative impacts. In Brazil, such interventions became more intense after the 1930's as the government envisaged the colonization of the largest rainforest of the world as a way of promoting its integration and of securing national sovereignty. The motto was 'integrate Amazonia for not losing it'; '50 years of development in only 5 years'. Therefore, there was a widespread perception of the government that Amazonia was a green emptiness that should be occupied and developed at any human and ecological cost. Since 2007 there has been in course an ambitious government program called, 'Growth Acceleration Program' (PAC), with plans of road network, river harbours and river-ways constructions in the jungle areas. This Growth Program (PAC) has replicated very similar devastating developmental programs and policies of the past. By taking into account these issues and concerns, the paper provides a critical review on the impacts caused by anthropogenic interventions in the region. Development in Amazonia has been an arena for conflicts of interests among different corporate groups, stakeholders, and Indigenous communities. The paper fills a gap in the literature by qualitatively examining secondary data, and by criss-crossing documented information; it offers - as the result of critical analyses - recommendations for guidelines and policies for alternative development in Amazonia in the 21st Century.
Keywords: Dams construction; anthropogenic interventions; eco-social impacts; political and human ecology; alternative development models.