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BR-174 highway, geotourism and socio-environmental conflicts in the northern remote regions of the Amazon

Abstract

BR-174 in Brazil, also known as Manaus–Boa Vista, is a longitudinal highway that connects the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Amazonas and Roraima to Venezuela, being the only terrestrial connection between Roraima and the rest of Brazil. Its construction took place in 1968 and its inauguration in 1977, aiming to promote the interconnection of the State of Roraima, as a geopolitical strategy, with the rest of the country and, later, with South America. The construction of the BR-174 crossed the Waimiri Atroaris indigenous land, resulting in serious socio-environmental conflicts in the 1970s. Furthermore, recent research indicates that the deforestation process in the Amazon is associated with the opening of roads, as it favours the migratory flow, the occupation of land and logging. In this context, the arrival of migrants and, consequently, the pressing need to settle newly arrived people in search of land, favoured the damming of watercourses, the reduction of wild fauna and deforestation as a result of the construction of the road and neighbouring areas. However, and currently, BR-174 translates into a strategy of progress and communication, uniting adjacent communities, on the one hand, and, on the other, allowing the use of biophysical resources in favour of the development of geotourism. Considering this reality and from the perspective of the social and environmental transformations that have occurred, the objective of this paper is to analyse the potential of the BR-174 for the development of geotourism, as a way of mitigating its socio-environmental impacts and connecting geographically remote regions. The qualitative nature approach is based on the treatment and analysis of available bibliographic and documental sources. As the only land connection in the State of Roraima, and in addition to the negative impacts on the socio-environmental profile of the region, it can be concluded that the BR-174 highway has the potential to be an element facilitating the promotion of geotourism in the remote region of Amazon, contributing to the socio-environmental safeguard of this region.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank to UFP Energy, Environment and Health Research Unit (FP-ENAS), funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), in the scope of FCT Project UID/Multi/04546/2019 and to Professor Francisco dos Santos Panero, from the Federal University of Roraima, Brazil, for your valuable inputs to the work. Diogo Guedes Vidal was funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT, I.P.) through the Doctoral Grant SFRH/BD/143238/2019.

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Veras, A.S.S., Vidal, D.G., Wahaj, Z. et al. BR-174 highway, geotourism and socio-environmental conflicts in the northern remote regions of the Amazon. GeoJournal (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-022-10699-0

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Keywords

  • BR-174 highway
  • Amazon
  • Socio-environmental conflicts
  • Geotourism