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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. Perz
  • 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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Infrastructure Connectivity Resilience Amazon Globalization 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen G. Perz
    • 1
  • 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

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