Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 35–53 | Cite as

Regional integration and local change: road paving, community connectivity, and social–ecological resilience in a tri-national frontier, southwestern Amazonia

  • Stephen G. PerzEmail author
  • Liliana Cabrera
  • Lucas Araújo Carvalho
  • Jorge Castillo
  • Rosmery Chacacanta
  • Rosa E. Cossio
  • Yeni Franco Solano
  • Jeffrey Hoelle
  • Leonor Mercedes Perales
  • Israel Puerta
  • Daniel Rojas Céspedes
  • Ioav Rojas Camacho
  • Adão Costa Silva
Original Article


Initiatives for global economic integration increasingly prioritize new infrastructure in relatively remote regions. Such regions have relatively intact ecosystems and provide valuable ecosystem services, which has stimulated debates over the wisdom of new infrastructure. Most prior research on infrastructure impacts highlights economic benefits, ecological damage, or social conflicts. We suggest a more integrative approach to regional integration by appropriating the concepts of connectivity from transport geography and social–ecological resilience from systems ecology. Connectivity offers a means of observing the degree of integration between locations, and social–ecological resilience provides a framework to simultaneously consider multiple consequences of regional integration. Together, they offer a spatial analysis of resilience that considers multiple dimensions of infrastructure impacts. Our study case is the southwestern Amazon, a highly biodiverse region which is experiencing integration via paving of the Inter-Oceanic Highway. Specifically, we focus on the “MAP” region, a tri-national frontier where Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru meet and which differs in the extent of highway paving. We draw on a tri-national survey of more than 100 resource-dependent rural communities across the MAP frontier and employ indicators for multiple dimensions of connectivity and social–ecological resilience. We pursue a comparative analysis among regions and subregions with differing degrees of community connectivity to markets in order to evaluate their social–ecological resilience. The findings indicate that connectivity and resilience have a multifaceted relationship, such that greater community connectivity corresponds to greater resilience in some respects but not others. We conclude by noting how our findings integrate those from heretofore largely disparate literatures on infrastructure. The integration of transport geography with resilience thought thus stands to advance the study of infrastructure impacts.


Infrastructure Connectivity Resilience Amazon Globalization 



Financial support for this research came from the National Science Foundation, Human and Social Dynamics Program, Grant #0527511, and from the US Agency for International Development, Latin America and Caribbean program in Environment, Cooperative Agreements RLA-A-00-06-00071-00 and 512-A-00-08-00003-00. The coauthors are coordinators and field team leaders of the socioeconomic component of the NSF grant, and they thank the other collaborators who contributed to the community survey fieldwork and data entry in Madre de Dios, Peru (Angélica Almeyda, Wendy Cueva Cueto, Eder Nicanor Chilla Pfuro, Boris Arguedas, Erika Quispe Ruiz, Andrea Chávez, Rafael Rojas), Acre, Brazil (Karla Rocha, Jesus Melo, Vera Gurgel), and Pando, Bolivia (Kelly Biedenweg, Dave Elliott, Alexander Shenkin). For logistical support, we thank Veronica Passos, Bertha Ikeda, and Daniel Rojas. For helpful suggestions, we thank Julio Rojas, Frank P. de la Barra, Amy Duchelle, Valerio Gomes, and Jacqueline Vadjunec.


  1. Adger WN (2000) Social and ecological resilience: are they related? Prog Hum Geog 24:347–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adger WN (2006) Vulnerability. Global Env Change 16:268–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adger WN, Kelly PM, Winkels A, Huy LG, Locke C (2002) Migration, remittances, livelihood trajectories, and social resilience. Ambio 31:358–366Google Scholar
  4. Adger WN, Hughes TP, Folke C, Carpenter SR, Rockström J (2005) Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science 309:1036–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arlinghaus S (2001) Graph theory and geography: an interactive view. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Aschauer DA (1989) Is public infrastructure productive? J Monet Econ 23:177–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berke F, Turner NJ (2006) Knowledge, learning and the evolution of conservation practice for social-ecological system resilience. Hum Ecol 34:479–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bigman D, Fofack H (2000) Geographical targeting for poverty alleviation: an introduction to the special issue. World Bank Econ Rev 14:129–145Google Scholar
  9. Binswanger H, Khandker SR, Rosenzweig MR (1993) How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India. J Dev Econ 41:337–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boarnet MG (1999) Road infrastructure, economic productivity, and the need for highway finance reform. Pub Works Manag Pol 3(4):289–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bourguignon F, Pleskovic B (2008) Rethinking infrastructure for development. Annual World Bank conference on development economics—2007. World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Brown IF, Brilhante SCH, Mendoza E, Ribeiro de Oliveira I (2002) Estrada de Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil aos Portos do Pacífico: Como Maximizar os Benefícios e Minimizar os Prejuízos para o Desenvolvimento Sustentable da Amazônia Sul-Ocidental. In: CEPEI, La Integración Regional Entre Bolivia, Brasil y Peru. CEPEI, LimaGoogle Scholar
  13. Bulmer-Thomas V (2001) Regional integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. Bull Latin Am Res 20(3):360–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Calderón C, Serven L (2004) The effects of infrastructure development on growth and income distribution. Central Bank of Chile, working paper No. 270Google Scholar
  15. Carpenter S, Walker B, Anderies JM, Abel N (2001) From metaphor to measurement: resilience of what to what? Ecosystems 4:765–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carranza ME (2002) Neighbors or partners? NAFTA and the regional politics of integration in North America. Latin Am Pol Soc 44:141–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Centro Peruano de Estudios Internacionales (CEPEI) (2002) La Integración regional entre bolivia, Brasil y Peru. CEPEI, LimaGoogle Scholar
  18. Christen D, Matlack G (2006) The role of roadsides in plant invasions: a demographic approach. Con Biol 20:385–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Coffin AW (2007) From roadkill to road ecology: a review of the ecological effects of roads. J Transp Geog 15:396–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Craig BJ, Pardey PJ, Roseboom J (1997) International productivity patterns: accounting for input quality, infrastructure, and research. Am J Agr Econ 79:1064–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cronon W (1991) Nature’s metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. W.W. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Cross C (2001) Why does South Africa need a spatial policy? Population migration, infrastructure and development. J Contemp Afr St 19:111–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cumming GS, Barnes G, Perz SG, Schmink M, Sieving KE, Southworth J, Binford M, Holt RD, Stickler C, Van Holt T (2005) An exploratory framework for the empirical measurement of resilience. Ecosystems 8:975–987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Davis SH (1977) Victims of the miracle: development and the Indians of Brazil. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Demurger S (2001) Infrastructure and economic growth: an explanation for regional disparities in China? J Comp Econ 29:95–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Devres Inc (1981) Socio-economic and environmental impacts of low volume rural roads: a review of the literature. US Agency for International Development, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  27. Dourojeanni MJ, Barandiarán A, Dourojeanni D (2010) Amazonía Peruana en 2021. SPDA, LimaGoogle Scholar
  28. Eigenbrod F, Hecnar SJ, Fahrig L (2008) Accessible habitat: an improved measure of the effects of habitat loss and roads on wildlife populations. Landsc Ecol 23:159–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ellis F (2000) Rural livelihoods and diversity in developing countries. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  30. Fan S, Hazell P, Haque T (2000) Targeting public investments by agro-ecological zone to achieve growth and poverty alleviation goals in Rural India. Food Pol 25:411–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fan S, Zhang L, Zhang X (2004) Reform, investment, and poverty in China. Econ Dev Cultural Change 52:395–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Folke C (2006) Resilience: the emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses. Global Env Change 16:253–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Folke C, Colding J, Berkes F (2003) Building resilience and adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems. In: Berkes F, Colding J, Folke C (eds) Navigating social-ecological systems: building resilience for complexity and change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 352–387Google Scholar
  34. Forman RTT, Alexander LE (1998) Roads and their major ecological effects. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 29:207–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Forman RTT, Sperling D, Bisonette JA, Clevenger AP, Cutshall CP, Dale VH, Fahrig L, France R, Goldman CR, Heanue K, Jones JA, Swanson FJ, Turrentine T, Winter TC (2003) Road ecology: science and solutions. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  36. Genna GM, Hiroi T (2004) Power preponderance and domestic politics: explaining regional economic integration in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1960–1997. Int Interact 30:143–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gibson J, Rozelle S (2003) Poverty and access to roads in Papua New Guinea. Econ Dev Cultural Change 52:159–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Goldman A (1995) Threats to sustainability in African agriculture: searching for appropriate paradigms. Human Ecol 23(3):291–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Goodwin BJ, Fahrig L (2002) How does landscape structure influence landscape connectivity? Oikos 99:552–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gramlich E (1994) Infrastructure investment: a review essay. J Econ Lit 32:1176–1196Google Scholar
  41. Gunasekera K, Anderson W, Lakshmanan TR (2008) Highway-induced development: evidence from Sri Lanka. World Dev 36:2371–2389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Gunderson LH (2000) Ecological resilience—in theory and application. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 31:425–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hage P, Harary F (1996) Island networks: communication, kinship, and classification structures in Oceania. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Haggett P, Cliff AD, Frey A (1977) Locational analysis in human geography. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Hall AL (1989) Developing Amazonia: deforestation and social conflict in Brazil’s Carajás programme. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  46. Hansen MJ, Clevenger AP (2005) The influence of disturbance and habitat on the presence of non-native plant species along transport corridors. Bio Con 125:249–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hawbaker TJ, Radeloff VC (2004) Roads and landscape pattern in Northern Wisconsin based on a comparison of four road data sources. Con Biol 18:1233–1244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hemming J (1985) Change in the Amazon Basin, 2 vols. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  49. Holling CS (1973) Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 4:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Howe J, Richards P (1984) Rural roads and poverty alleviation. ILO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  51. Iniciativa MAP (2008) URL available at Accessed 20 Jan 2008
  52. Iniciativa para la Integracion del a Infraestructura Regional de America del Sur (IIRSA) (2008) URL available at Accessed 20 Jan 2008
  53. Isard W (1956) Location and space-economy: a general theory relating to industrial location, market areas, land use, trade, and Urban Structure. MIT/Wiley, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  54. Jacoby HG (2000) Access to markets and the benefits of rural roads. Econ J 110:713–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Jaeger JAG, Bowman J, Brennan J, Fahrig L, Bert D, Bouchard J, Charbonneau K, Frank K, Gruber B, von Toschanowitz KT (2005) Predicting when animal populations are at risk from roads: an interactive model of road avoidance behavior. Ecol Mod 185:329–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Katzman MT (1977) Cities and frontiers in Brazil: regional dimensions of economic development. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  57. Kellogg P (2007) Regional integration in Latin America: dawn of an alternative to neoliberalism? New Political Sci 29:187–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Killeen TJ (2007) A perfect storm in the Amazon Wilderness: development and conservation in the context of the initiative for the integration of regional infrastructure of South America (IIRSA). Conservation International, Arlington, VAGoogle Scholar
  59. Killeen TJ, Solórzano LA (2008) Conservation strategies to mitigate impacts from climate change in Amazonia. Phil Trans R Soc B 363:1881–1888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Laurance WF, Bierregaard RO (1997) Tropical forest remnants: ecology, management and conservation of fragmented communities. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  61. Laurance WF, Lovejoy TE, Vasconcelos HL, Bruna EM, Didham RE, Stouffer PC, Gascon C, Bierregaard RO, Laurance SG, Sampaio E (2002) Ecosystem decay of amazonian forest fragments: A 22-year investigation. Con Biol 16:605–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Leonel M (1992) Roads, Indians and the environment in the Amazon: from Central Brazil to the Pacific Ocean. International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  63. Levin S (1999) Fragile dominion: complexity and the commons. Perseus, Reading, MAGoogle Scholar
  64. Mahapa SM, Mashiri S (2001) Social exclusion and rural transport: gender aspects of a road improvement project in Tshitwe, Northern Province. Dev South Afr 18:365–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Marengo JA, Nobre CA, Tomasella J, Oyama MD, Sampaio de Oliveira G, de Oliveira R, Camargo H, Alves LM, Brown IF (2008) The drought of Amazonia in 2005. J Climate 21:495–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Mendoza E, Perz SG, Schmink M, Nepstad D (2007) Participatory stakeholder workshops to mitigate impacts of road paving in the Southwestern Amazon. Con Soc 5:382–407Google Scholar
  67. Millikan BH (1992) Tropical deforestation, land degradation, and society: lessons from Rondonia, Brazil. Latin Am Perspectives 19:45–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Minot N, Baulch B, Epprecht M (2003) Poverty and inequality in Vietnam: spatial patterns and geographic determinants. International Food Policy Research InstituteGoogle Scholar
  69. Moreira Mesquita M (2007) Trade Costs and Economic Fundamentals of the Initiative for Integration of Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA). Inter-American Development Bank: INTAL-ITD Working Paper No. 30Google Scholar
  70. Munakata N (2006) Transforming East Asia: the evolution of regional economic integration. Research Institute Economy, Trade and Industry, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  71. Munnell A (1992) Public infrastructure investment and economic growth. J Econ Persp 6:189–198Google Scholar
  72. Myers N, Mittermeier RA, Mittermeier CG, da Fonseca GAB, Kent J (2000) Biodiversity hotpots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Nepstad DC, Stickler CM, Soares-Filho B, Merry F (2008) Interactions among amazon land use, forests, and climate: prospects for a near-term forest tipping point. Phil Trans R Soc B 363:1737–1746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. North RN (1979) Transport in Western Siberia: Tsarist and Soviet development. University of British Columbia Press, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  75. Pender J, Jagger P, Nkonya E, Sserunkuuma D (2004) Development pathways and land management in Uganda. World Dev 32:767–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Perz SG (2005) The effects of household asset endowments on agricultual diversity among frontier colonists in the Amazon. Agrofor Syst 63:263–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Perz SG, Cabrera L, Carvalho LA, Castillo J, Barnes G (2010) Global economic integration and local community resilience: new infrastructure projects and demographic change in the southwestern Amazon. Rural Sociol 75:300–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Peterson G (2000) Political ecology and ecological resilience: an integration of human and ecological dynamics. Ecol Econ 35:323–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Randall L (1997) The political economy of Latin America in the postwar period. University of Texas Press, AustinGoogle Scholar
  80. Robinson R (2001) Decentralization of road administration: case studies in Africa and Asia. Pub Admin Dev 21:53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Rudel TK, Richards S (1990) Urbanization, roads, and rural population change in the ecuadorian andes. St Comp Int Dev 25:73–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Schmink M, Wood CH (1984) Frontier expansion in Amazonia. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FLGoogle Scholar
  83. Schmink M, Wood CH (1992) Contested frontiers in Amazonia. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  84. Shriar AJ (2009) Roads to poverty: exploring the impacts of economic integration on socioeconomic conditions and land use in northern Guatemala. J Plan Ed Res 28:456–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Straub S (2008) Infrastructure and growth in developing countries: recent advances and research challenges. World Bank policy research working paper No. 4460, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  86. Subbarao K (1997) Public works as an anti-poverty program: an overview of cross-country experience. Am J Agr Econ 79:678–683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Trankell IB (1999) On the road in Laos: an anthropological study of road construction and rural communities. White Lotus Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  88. Trombulak SC, Frissell CA (2000) Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Con Biol 14(1):18–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Turner NJ, Davidson-Hunt IJ, O’Flaherty M (2003) Living on the edge: ecological and cultural edges as sources of diversity for social-ecological resilience. Hum Ecol 31:439–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Urban D, Keitt T (2002) Landscape connectivity: a graph-theoretic perspective. Ecology 82:1205–1218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Van de Walle D (2002) Choosing rural road investments to help reduce poverty. World Dev 30:575–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Van Dijk P, den Haak S (2007) Troublesome construction: IIRSA and public-private partnerships in road infrastructure. Cuadernos del CEDLAGoogle Scholar
  93. van Oosten C (2004) Fading frontiers? Local development and cross-border partnerships in Southwest Amazonia. University of Utrecht, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
  94. Walker BJ, Salt D (2006) Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  95. Walker RT, Perz SG, Arima E, Simmons C (2011) The transamazon highway: past, present, future. In: Brunn SD (ed) Chap 33 in engineering earth. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  96. Windle J, Cramb RA (1997) Remoteness and rural development: economic impacts of rural roads on upland farmers in Sarawak, Malaysia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 38:37–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. World Bank (1994) World development report 1994: infrastructure for development. World Bank, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen G. Perz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liliana Cabrera
    • 2
  • Lucas Araújo Carvalho
    • 3
  • Jorge Castillo
    • 4
  • Rosmery Chacacanta
    • 4
  • Rosa E. Cossio
    • 5
  • Yeni Franco Solano
    • 4
  • Jeffrey Hoelle
    • 6
  • Leonor Mercedes Perales
    • 7
  • Israel Puerta
    • 8
  • Daniel Rojas Céspedes
    • 9
  • Ioav Rojas Camacho
    • 10
  • Adão Costa Silva
    • 11
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Criminology and LawUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Dirección de Interacción SocialUniversidad Amazónica de PandoCobijaBolivia
  3. 3.Departamento de Economia e Mestrado em Desenvolvimento RegionalUniversidade Federal do AcreRio BrancoBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento Académico de Ecoturismo y AdministraciónUniversidad Nacional Amazónica de Madre de DiosPuerto MaldonadoPeru
  5. 5.School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  6. 6.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  7. 7.SENAMHIIñapariPeru
  8. 8.Universidad Amazónica de PandoCobijaBolivia
  9. 9.Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas y NaturalesUniversidad Amazónica de PandoCobijaBolivia
  10. 10.Departamento de InformáticaUniversidad Amazónica de PandoCobijaBolivia
  11. 11.Mestrado em Desenvolvimento RegionalUniversidade Federal do AcreRio BrancoBrazil

Personalised recommendations