How many Amazons are there in the Amazon?


A study surveys the region in five zones and defends economic models that consider the specificities of each.

It spans

5 million km²

across nine separate states that are socially and culturally distinct.

If the Legal Amazon were a country, it would be the seventh largest in the world.

Is it possible to create a single savings model for all this?

Knowing that economic models need to respect the diversity of the Amazon, one study divided it into zones: The Amazon Forest, the Amazon Forest under pressure, the Deforested Amazon, the Non-forest Amazon and the Urban Amazon.

The Amazon Forest is formed by municipalities with only 5% deforested forest cover. It is where the original vegetation is best preserved.

In the specific case of the Amazon Forest, the authors list a series of recommendations. The first is to privilege the economy that comes from the forest.

Traditional production chains, such as açaí, tropical fruits and Brazil nuts, as well as fish and agroforestry products (cacao and black pepper), should be prioritized.

The Amazon Forest under pressure is an area that still has large forest cover, but has seen an accelerated process of recent deforestation.

This zone should direct its efforts toward combatting mining and illegal logging. On the more economic side, scientists demand the expansion of agroforestry systems and low-carbon agriculture.

The Deforested Amazon corresponds to municipalities that have already lost over 70% of their original forest.

And the Non-forest Amazon is composed of municipalities whose original vegetation cover is mostly Cerrado.

Finally, there is the Urban Amazon: the study used the IBGE criteria on the location of the largest urban centers and those with a large concentration of resident population.

In this zone, care needs to be centralized, the researchers report, into a sustainable urban planning, not to mention concerns with garbage collection, water supply and basic sanitation.

In addition to the need to create specific models for each of the five macro-sectors, the authors advocate for the empowerment of local producers.

I would be happy to see a policy that strengthens the collective action of producers, whether through cooperatives or associations that are local in scope or larger entities, with state and even federal reach

Salo Coslovsky, a professor at New York University (NYU).

REPORTING Eduardo Geraque TEXT AND EDITING Carolina Dantas PHOTOS Christian Braga / Greenpeace; Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil; Nilmar Lage / Greenpeace; Rede Xingu +; Anderson Coelho/InfoAmazonia; Atitude Açaí / via Flickr VISUAL IDENTITY Clara Borges ASSEMBLY Luiza Toledo