The Atlantic Forest stands as a warning to treatment of the Amazon

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Warren Dean chronicles the history of human interaction and exploitation of the Atlantic Forest, with emphasis on governmental responsibility towards the environment. He argues that conservation efforts must be local initiatives, and cannot succeed without governmental enforcement. For the Atlantic forest and other endangered areas, only when environmentalism became politicized could it be meaningfully implemented. Unlike Tucker, who focuses on the victimization of Latin American countries by foreign corporations, Dean comes down harshly on the Brazilian government’s culpability in the degradation of the forest. Dean takes a somewhat romantic view of the Atlantic forest, and veritably mourns its loss, and uses his book to mount a convincing argument that the Amazon is headed down the same path.

  • Population growth is the most influential factor in accelerating forest destruction

  • The Atlantic Forest stands as a warning to treatment of the Amazon.

  • Seems to hold Brazilian government responsible for the degradation of the forest, in opposition to Tucker’s victimization of Latin American countries.

  • Focuses on transitions: miners to farmers, empire to republic, environmental disregard to “responsible concern” (212) to management.

  • The notion of Progress drove much of the

  • Conservation efforts must come from within (the government).

Pre-class response

  • The need to manage the forests on “behalf of social tranquility” (225)

  • “Only European knowledge was valid” (227)

  • “Clearly, forest conservation could not be implemented by foreigners” (238). Relates to the idea of using conservation to keep emerging economies safely contained, as discussed in the Rohter article. And later, in the 1970s, “It was suspected that the industrialized countried had invented still another obstacle to Brazil’s elevation to their ranks” (292)


  • Faced with enormous waste and misuse of wood reserves, Brazilian conservationists “made legislators aware of the conservation efforts in other countries in the hope that they would feel obliged to catch up”. Considering Crosby’s view of American conservation “constructs”, how would his argument be informed by the situation in 19th century Brazil?

  • To what degree does Dean hold consumers and foreign influence responsible for the destruction of the Amazon? “Capital to transform these barrens into real wealth and power had to come from abroad, through the sale of goods that richer countries valued.”

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