Agriculture has always been an important economic activity in Brazil and is now among the most dynamic sectors in the Brazilian economy. However, a lot of controversy has risen over the impact of such phenomenon on the Brazilian Amazon. This paper offers a critical overview of the literature on the expansion of the Brazilian agricultural frontier, demonstrating its impact on the degradation of the Amazon forest based on secondary data and institutional document sources. An overview of the historical development of the Brazilian Amazon basin is conducted by looking in a critical way at some implications of such a phenomenon. Rather then commenting on an empirical study, the objective of this paper is to present a theoretical analysis of the models of development adopted for the Amazon region in Brazil, showing the relative importance of different variables and factors to the depletion of that ecosystem. It is argued that although the figures show net benefit to the Brazilian economy, the prosperity which is advocated to be brought by the agricultural explosion favors mostly established elites and vested international interests, which have contributed to the degradation of the Amazon forest for a long time. It is suggested that the focus on Brazilian agricultural growth as the main driver of deforestation of the Amazon has omitted the historical links to the deforestation problem and the related role of effective international cooperation.
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