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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • Rain forest ecology—Amazon River Region
  • Biosphere—Research—Amazon River Region
  • Climatic changes—Amazon River Region
  • Amazon River Region—Climate

Index Terms

  • 6304 Policy Sciences: Benefit-cost analysis
  • 6324 Policy Sciences: Legislation and regulations
  • 6329 Policy Sciences: Project evaluation
  • 9360 Geographic Location: South America



Road impacts in Brazilian Amazonia

Alexander Pfaff

Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Alisson Barbieri

Cedeplar, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Thomas Ludewigs

The World Bank, Brasilia, Brazil

Frank Merry

Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA

Stephen Perz

Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Eustaquio Reis

Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We examine the evidence on Amazonian road impacts with a strong emphasis on context. Impacts of a new road, on either deforestation or socioeconomic outcomes, depend upon the conditions into which roads are placed. Conditions that matter include the biophysical setting, such as slope, rainfall, and soil quality, plus externally determined socioeconomic factors like national policies, exchange rates, and the global prices of beef and soybeans. Influential conditions also include all prior infrastructural investments and clearing rates. Where development has already arrived, with significant economic activity and clearing, roads may decrease forest less and raise output more than where development is arriving, while in pristine areas, short-run clearing may be lower than immense long-run impacts. Such differences suggest careful consideration of where to invest further in transport.

Citation: Pfaff, A., A. Barbieri, T. Ludewigs, F. Merry, S. Perz, and E. Reis (2009), Road impacts in Brazilian Amazonia, in Amazonia and Global Change, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 186, edited by M. Keller et al., pp. 101–116, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2008GM000737.


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