Oil Wealth and the Fate of the Forest: A Comparative Study of Eight Tropical Countries

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Taylor & Francis, Apr 24, 2003 - Business & Economics - 456 pages

Reduction in the size of the world's remaining rainforests is an issue of huge importance for all societies. This new book - an analysis of the impact of oil wealth on tropical deforestation in South America, Africa and Asia - takes a much more analytical approach than the usual fare of environmental studies.

The focus on economies as a whole leads to a more balanced view than those that are often put forward and therefore, vitally, a view that is more valid. Of use to those who study environmental issues and economics, this book is potentially an indispensable tool for policy-makers the world over.

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The Pemon are part of the larger Cariban language family, and include six groups including the Arekuna, Ingarikó, Kamarakoto, Tualipang, Mapoyo and Macushi/Makushi (Macuxi or Makuxi in Brazil). While ethnographic data on these groups are scant, Iris Myers produced one of the most detailed accounts of the Makushi[3] in the 1940s, and her work is heavily relied upon for comparisons between historical and contemporary Makushi life.[4]
The Pemon were first encountered by westerners in the 18th century and encouraged to convert to Christianity.[2] Their society is based on trade and considered egalitarian and decentralized, and in Venezuela, funding from petrodollars have helped fund community projects, and ecotourism opportunities are also being developed.[2] In Venezuela, Pemon live in the Gran Sabana grassland plateau dotted with tabletop mountains where the Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, plunges from Auyantepui in Canaima National Park.[2]
The Makuxi, who are also Pemon speakers, are found in Brazil and Guyana in areas close to the Venezuelan border.
Language
Arekuna, or Pemon (in Spanish: Pemón), is a Cariban language spoken mainly in Venezuela, specifically in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State. According to the 2001 census there were 15,094 Pemon speakers in Venezuela.
Myths
Three Pemon youths
The Pemon have a very rich mythic tradition which is merged into their present Catholic and Christian faiths. Pemon mythology includes gods residing in the grassland area's table-top mountains called tepui.[2] The mountains are off-limits to the living, as they are also home to ancestor spirits called mawari.[2] The first non-native person to seriously study Pemon myths and language was the German ethnologist Theodor Koch-Grunberg, who visited Roraima in 1912.
Important myths describe the origins of the sun and moon, the creation of the tepui mountains — which dramatically rise from the savannahs of the Gran Sabana — and the activities of the creator hero Makunaima and his brothers.
"Kueka" stone controversy
In 1999, Wolfgang Kraker von Schwarzenfeld arranged the transport of a red stone boulder, weighing about 35 metric tons, from Venezuela's Canaima National Park to Berlin Tiergarten for his "global stone" project. Since that time, a dispute is ongoing but yet unsuccessful, of the Pemon trying to get the stone back, involving German and Venezuelan authorities and embassies, up to the former president Hugo Chuck.[5][6][7]
 

About the author (2003)

Sven Wunder is Scientist and Senior Economist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia.

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