The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon, Updated Edition

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University of Chicago Press, 2010 - History - 387 pages
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The Amazon rain forest covers more than five million square kilometers, amid the territories of nine different nations. It represents over half of the planet’s remaining rain forest. Is it truly in peril? What steps are necessary to save it? To understand the future of Amazonia, one must know how its history was forged: in the eras of large pre-Columbian populations, in the gold rush of conquistadors, in centuries of slavery, in the schemes of Brazil’s military dictators in the 1960s and 1970s, and in new globalized economies where Brazilian soy and beef now dominate, while the market in carbon credits raises the value of standing forest.

Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn show in compelling detail the panorama of destruction as it unfolded, and also reveal the extraordinary turnaround that is now taking place, thanks to both the social movements, and the emergence of new environmental markets. Exploring the role of human hands in destroying—and saving—this vast forested region, The Fate of the Forest pivots on the murder of Chico Mendes, the legendary labor and environmental organizer assassinated after successful confrontations with big ranchers. A multifaceted portrait of Eden under siege, complete with a new preface and afterword by the authors, this book demonstrates that those who would hold a mirror up to nature must first learn the lessons offered by some of their own people.


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The fate of the forest: developers, destroyers, and defenders of the Amazon

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The murder of rubber tapper Chico Mendes in December, 1988 drew the world's attention to the struggle for forest reserves, supporting sustained use of resources such as rubber, in the Amazon Basin ... Read full review


One The Forests of Their Desires
Two The Realm of Nature
Three The Heritage of Fire
Four The Amazon Prospectus
Five Magnates in the Amazon
Six The Generals Blueprint
Seven The Furies Unleashed
Eight The Defenders of the Amazon
Interview with Darrell Posey
Interview with Osmarino Amancio Rodrigues
Interviw with Father Michael Feeney
Forest Peoples Manifesto
Seven Beliefs True and False about the Amazon
A Note on Parks the Origins of Yosemite and the Expulsions of Native Americans
Afterword 2010

Nine The Ecology of Justice
Interivew with Ailton Krenak

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About the author (2010)


Susanna Hecht is professor in the School of Public Affairs and the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.   She is the author of   The Scramble for the Amazon and the Tropical Odyssey of Euclides de Cunha, and coeditor of   The Social Lives of Forests: Forest Recovery in the Past, Present and Future, both forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. Alexander Cockburn is coeditor of CounterPunch, and a regular columnist for the Nation and First Post. He has contributed to numerous periodicals including the New York Review, the London Review, Harpers, and the Atlantic Monthly, and is the author of several books, including Political Ecology, Corruptions of Empire, and The Golden Age Is in Us.

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