Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the problem of deforestation in Amazonia and the role of the Brazilian government with regard to the capitalist demands and development needs for the region. It offers a brief historical review of public policies and programs for Amazonia, and critically analyzes their conflicting aspects. Local environmental governance (LEG) is proposed as a conceptual framework and a participatory forest management strategy for dealing with the forest destruction. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a qualitative‐based study which provides a systemic analysis of the process of occupation and the key public policies for Amazonia from over the last decades, particularly during the coup d'état regime. Based on a literature review and official documents, descriptive data are produced which helped in understanding the political phases of the Brazilian government administrations. Findings – The study identified some participatory‐based, decentralized models of forest management and existing forest regulatory frameworks which can serve as an illustrative sketchy arrangement on how local environmental governance can become operative and serviceable for a sustainable balance between the use of natural resources, conservation and regional planning. These findings can help future investigations on governance models. The research also shows how the Brazilian government has perceived Amazonia throughout the decades and how this perception influenced the implementation of development and settlement policies for the region. Originality/value – The main focus of this article is the debate on the concept of local environmental governance (LEG) as a tool for empowering the local communities through the decentralization of decision making as well as the attempt to find implemented normative and institutional structures within the Amazonian context which can translate aspects of LEG.
Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 19, 2011
Keywords: Environmental management; Forests; Public policy; Regional development; Brazil
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