• Amazon River;
  • land use;
  • migration;
  • smallholders

ABSTRACT. A current pattern of seasonal migration, particularly among smallholders, is marked by movement between the Amazon River floodplain and upland bluffs near the city of Santarém, Brazil. Nearly fifty years of jute cultivation “subsidized” residents of the floodplain, enabling them to remain there year-round. Without this subsidy, annual flooding and the concomitant seasonal dearth of cash-economy activities make permanent occupancy difficult. The present-day seasonal migration and complementary use of both upland and floodplain environments has broad implications for theories about past patterns of settlement and for the region's future sustainable development.