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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation

Abstract

Road construction in the Amazon has greatly impacted its floral and faunal inhabitants. The opening of a new road in a previously isolated region exposes its populations to the economy for the first time, and to the possibility of enriching themselves through the extraction of their products. Unfortunately, this exchange of goods results in the aculturization of indigenous groups, and in the loss of their unique culture. The migration that the roads near indigenous communities encourages increases access to education and sources of work, but results in a nearly complete destruction of these communities’ social fiber. Economic and cultural exchanges also affect the health level of indigenous communities and urban zones, since roads bring in many new diseases, yet simultaneously increase access to western medicine health centers. Amazonian roads are an environmental catastrophe, since the construction, improvement, and use of roads hurt the water, soil, air, vegetation, and fauna near their construction sites. The strong dominance of negative consequences of road building in the Amazon suggests that “the people need to stop this immediately.”

Disciplines

Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy

 

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