This region has entered a new era of natural resource destruction as the principle industries driving deforestation (cattle ranching and soybean farming) are strengthened by expanding world markets for open-range beef and grain. The paving of highways into the heart of the region will facilitate the export of Amazon products to world markets as it creates new corridors for explosive frontier expansion. These mounting threats to the Amazon require large-scale, integrated approaches to conservation that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Large-scale conservation of the greater Amazon Basin region will depend upon (1) conservation analyses that describe the complex interactions among ecosystems, economies, and climate that will unfold into the future, (2) regional conservation planning processes that diminish the environmental destruction of frontier expansion along emerging highway corridors, and (3) the transformation of grain and beef production industries into proponents of Amazon conservation using a combination of market-based instruments and improved government regulation.
This symposium will provide a state-of-the-art assessment of the processes that are threatening the world's largest tropical rain forest complex, and the initiatives underway that create the potential for large-scale conservation.