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Population mobility, livelihoods, and urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon Alisson Flávio Barbieri Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil.

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Presentation on theme: "Population mobility, livelihoods, and urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon Alisson Flávio Barbieri Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil."— Presentation transcript:

1 Population mobility, livelihoods, and urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon Alisson Flávio Barbieri Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil Taipei, November 2014

2 Research Questions How LULCC, livelihoods and population mobility has shaped urbanization in the Amazon? How do broader development processes (local, regional, global) impact livelihoods and urbanization in the Amazon?

3 Lessons Learned  General statement: several regions in the Brazilian Amazon have features that allow to classify them as “urban”, or “rurban”, or “urban extended”. Regardless of the qualification, land use and land cover change and livelihoods cannot be understood without unveiling their urban connections  The Amazon was “born urban” (Bertha Becker)

4 “Rural Urbanism” “The urban-rural planning or rural urbanism proposes the creation of certain conditions in the rural areas for the settlement and fixation of useful and capable rural workers and who are, ultimately, the architects of development (...) the ruralist (rancher, settler, or farmer) who is successful in his activities and who lacks the appropriate conditions for himself and his family in the rural environment will seek the medical, educational, and social assistance in the city, often abandoning agricultural work (...) in order for the farmer to stay in the rural area, city should be brought to the field, creating urban-rural centers” (INCRA, 1973, p.4-5). (Our translation).

5 Lessons Learned  Policies which do not consider the hydrib nature of rural – urban settlements in the Amazon and its complexity (e.g., nonlinearity in urban morphologies) have resulted in inefficiency and “collateral damage”  Usual receipts of “urban” and “rural development” policies have fostered deforetation hotspots (with biodiversity loss and carbon emissions): urban growth and opportunities couple with imperfect markets and institutions (credit, land titling, technica assistence) and infrastructure building

6 Lessons Learned  Livelihoods diversification is facilitated by a growing connectivity of rural-urban areas, e.g. fostered by increased physical capital (e.g. families owning urban land for dual- residency) and growing market-oriented land use systems.  The oldest survive in the frontier with deprived levels of capitals. Because more profitable migration strategies are income- selective, those households are trapped in a long-term deprivation trajectory  Increasing mobility of the second and third generations (or new younger colonists) due to growing influence of markets and returns to urban-based human capital and age selectivity  younger households in the frontier are a selective group, with more complex mechanisms for income generation, since they are entering a more urbanized and market-oriented frontier, which requests higher levels of capitals (human, social, financial)

7 Lessons Learned and a future research agenda on urbanization and global environmental change  Population mobility and urbanization in the Amazon (and other frontier areas as well) reflects the dynamic nature of livelihood strategies, with shifting portfolio of capitals as perceived returns to capitals changes through frontier development. Over time, urban-based strategies become an increasingly adopted strategy  Migration and urbanization theories must consider the nonlinear and asymmetrical nature of frontiers: as they evolve, demographic and livelihoods dynamics must be analyzed not only at the property level, but at a “rural-urban” (or regional, or “rurban”, or urban extended) level where families diversify not only across capitals but across space, taking advantage of urban services, markets for agricultural production, and higher returns to human capitals  Need to develop alternatives to predominant transitional theories (demographic transition, Zelinsky´s mobility transition) which see an universal and deterministic impact of “development” on the society. As a matter of fact, a “current wisdom” indicate that frontiers in the Amazon have very heterogeneous and diverse urban-based development paths

8 Diversifying Across Space:Santarém-Belterra-Monte Alegra Settlement Hierarchy Guedes et al, 2009 in Population and Environment (Springer)

9 Acknowledgments Research funding from the Inter-American Institute for Global Environmental Research / National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant #CRN3036 (A.F. Barbieri, PI) Thank You! Muito obrigado! Contact: ufmg.br


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