Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 23–49 | Cite as

Population, Land Use and Deforestation in the Pan Amazon Basin: a Comparison of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú and Venezuela

  • Stephen G. Perz
  • Carlos Aramburú
  • Jason Bremner


This paper discusses the linkages between population change, land use, and deforestation in the Amazon regions of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Venezuela. We begin with a brief discussion of theories of population–environment linkages, and then focus on the case of deforestation in the PanAmazon. The core of the paper reviews available data on deforestation, population growth, migration and land use in order to see how well land cover change reflects demographic and agricultural change. The data indicate that population dynamics and net migration exhibit to deforestation in some states of the basin but not others. We then discuss other explanatory factors for deforestation, and find a close correspondence between land use and deforestation, which suggests that land use is loosely tied to demographic dynamics and mediates the influence of population on deforestation. We also consider national political economic contexts of Amazon change in the six countries, and find contrasting contexts, which also helps to explain the limited demographic-deforestation correspondence. The paper closes by noting general conclusions based on the data, topics in need of further research and recent policy proposals.


Amazon deforestation land use migration population 


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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen G. Perz
    • 1
  • Carlos Aramburú
    • 2
  • Jason Bremner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Consorcio de Investigación Económica y SocialPerú
  3. 3.University of MichiganUSA

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