Sustainable Infrastructure in the Amazon


Deforestation in the Amazon cannot be solely circumscribed as an environmental phenomenon; it is the inevitable outcome of a confluence of security, economic, and governance issues. The combination of environmental endowments, natural resources, and human settlements in the Amazon presents challenges and opportunities for the development of the region going forward. Our report finds that there are three underlying, interrelated factors that cause deforestation in the Amazon: extreme socioeconomic insecurity, weak governance and state presence in the region, and poorly planned and executed infrastructure projects, which can exacerbate deforestation and increase social conflict. Despite these shortcomings, countries have the knowledge and tools to balance environmental, security, and economic concerns in the Amazon. Moving forward, regional and international stakeholders should aim to increase good governance and transparency, invest in security forces in the region, expand economic opportunity, improve infrastructure planning, and strengthen regional cooperation initiatives. There is no silver bullet: all of these elements are needed as an integrated strategy and all-hands-on-deck multisector approach. However, if adopted, this framework will allow the region to pursue sustainable economic development and ensure that economic, environmental, and social benefits are achieved.


This project was made possible by generous support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Romina Bandura
Senior Fellow, Project on Prosperity and Development, Project on U.S. Leadership in Development

Shannon McKeown