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Conflict, connectivity, and confluences: limitations and possibilities for Amazon riverine ecosystem protection

Fernandes, Stephannie de Souza (2021) Conflict, connectivity, and confluences: limitations and possibilities for Amazon riverine ecosystem protection. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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In September 2021, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for the protection of 80% of the Amazon Basin. This call was made in recognition of its contribution to local and global ecosystem services, many of which are provided by some of the world's longest free-flowing rivers. However, spanning nine countries and 40% of South America, governing this critical Basin has proved difficult. In particular, the lack of protection of rivers has permitted the degradation of the Basin’s riverine ecosystems in exchange for development. In this study, I asked what socio-economic factors are degrading the integrity of riverine ecosystems in the Basin and what lessons can be learned from environmental governance in the Amazon to inform the creation of a basin-wide river conservation system. To address these questions, I employed (1) policy analysis; (2) qualitative and quantitative analysis of an international survey, and (3) discourse analysis of gray literature and semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal that riverine degradation is largely caused by a complex combination of development activities that are mostly promoted by policies that intersect at multiple scales, such as national agendas for frontier expansion, bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, and regional integration schemes that aim to export commodities to global market. Although market activities have substantial environmental costs, there are ways for Amazonian countries to collaborate and mitigate environmental degradation. Building on existing protection strategies across scales, a river conservation system grounded in integrated water resource management principals could protect riverine connectivity and improve conservation governance.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Amazon Basin; Connectivity; Free-Flowing rivers; Frontier Expansion; Regional Integration
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 21:25
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2022 08:30
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5632

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