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The Fate of the Forest

Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon, Updated Edition

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.

408 pages | 6 halftones, 7 maps | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 1990, 2010

Earth Sciences: Environment

History: Discoveries and Exploration

Table of Contents

List of Maps
Preface to the 2010 Edition

One 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
Nine The ecology of Justice

Appendix A Interview with Ailton Krenak
Appendix B Interview with Darrell Posey
Appendix C Interview with Osmarino Amancio Rodrigues
Appendix D Interview with father Michael Feeney
Appendix E Forest Peoples' Manifesto
Appendix F Seven Beliefs, True and False, about the Amazon
Appendix G A note on parks, the origins of Yosemite, and the expulsions of Native Americans
Glossary of Plant Names
Glossary of Portuguese Terms
Notes and References
Afterword, 2010

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