Assistant Professor of Geography, Indiana State University
Land Conflict in AmazoniaA current area of research I am working on with collaborators at Michigan State University, University of Texas-Austin, and the Federal University of Para, expands upon work recently published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. We are investigating the connection between land conflict and forest change in a portion of the Amazon's Arc of Deforestation. Land conflict and environmental change have accompanied national integration of the Amazon region since just after the arrival of Cabral in 1501, but have taken off over the past 50 years. Despite their occurance in the same place, deforestation and land conflict are only now being explored as connected phenomena. Working in the South of Para, Brazil, we have showed that for the 180 hotly contested and rapidly changing largeholdings there, land conflict significantly increases the amount of deforestation. We are also working on describing the relationship between land conflict and changes to forest morphology in the same region.
Direct Action Land Reform and Livelihoods on Agricultural Settlements in AmazoniaIn a paper in World Development, as part of a team of researchers working with one of the most extensive datasets ever collected on the Agrarian Reform Settlements of the Amazon, we show that the impoverished landless rural workers of the Amazon who are involved in social movements agitating for agrarian reform do have slightly better family welfare, as measured by access to durable goods.
Land Holding and Agricultural Change on the TransamazonWorking with panel data collected along the Transamazon highway (BR-230), my co-authors and I showed that a healthy land market has developed surrounding the small town of Uruara in an article published in Economic Geography. In addition to the development of a land market, we show that property aggregation, a supposed problem in Amazonia, was offset by an equal number of disaggregations (i.e., larger properties consisting of multiple-lots were split apart as often as lots were aggregated together into larger properties). This is important because it shows that by the early 2000s wealthy outsiders had not appropriated a significant amount of the land of subsistence farmers. However, we do show that cattle ranching increased substantially between 1996 and 2002, and that in some cases smaller properties have been consolidated into larger ones.
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Department of Earth & Environmental Systems
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN 47809