Editor: Dr. Kendra McSweeney
Rural–urban migration brings conservation threats and opportunities to Amazonian watersheds
Article first published online: 30 MAR 2010
©2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 251–259, August 2010
How to Cite
Parry, L., Peres, C. A., Day, B. and Amaral, S. (2010), Rural–urban migration brings conservation threats and opportunities to Amazonian watersheds. Conservation Letters, 3: 251–259. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00106.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 30 MAR 2010
- Received: 23 October 2009; accepted 21 February 2010.
- nontimber forest products;
- property rights;
- rural exodus;
The spatial distribution and growth of human populations have been overlooked by current debates concerning the impact of rural–urban migration for forest conservation in tropical countries. We investigated human settlement and population change in the Brazilian Amazon, combining government census data with field surveys along rivers. Rural populations were clustered and growing within 300 km of urban centers, whereas depopulation and land abandonment dominated farther from towns. The permanently inhabited extent of rivers contracted by 33 ± 8 SE% in recent decades, and households farther upriver were more likely to be considering rural–urban migration. However, harvesting of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife by nonresidents continued into headwater regions, hundreds of kilometers beyond the last household on any given river. Policy makers should consider that expanding cities may drive deforestation and overexploitation near towns while unclear property rights threatens overharvesting and unregulated land speculation in abandoned headwaters.