Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 773–788 | Cite as

The social viability and environmental sustainability of direct action land reform settlements in the Amazon

  • Flávia L. Leite
  • Marcellus M. Caldas
  • Cynthia Simmons
  • Stephen G. Perz
  • Stephen Aldrich
  • Robert T. Walker


State-led agrarian reform (SLAR) settlements established in the Amazon in the 1970s led to environmental degradation and mixed socioeconomic outcomes. More recently, direct-action land reform (DALR) settlements have proliferated, which are leading to new forest clearing in the name of agrarian reform. The emergence of DALR begs questions about social and environmental outcomes in recent Amazon settlements. This paper compares DALR settlements in two different regions of the eastern Amazon: the South of Pará and the Transamazon. Analysis of household survey data shows that DALR settlements in the two study areas differ substantially in terms of their histories of formation and regional contexts. However, social and environmental outcomes do not always differ among the two study areas, which in turn resemble older SLAR settlements.


Sustainability Small-farmer settlements Amazon Direct action land reform 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Flávia L. Leite
    • 1
  • Marcellus M. Caldas
    • 2
  • Cynthia Simmons
    • 3
  • Stephen G. Perz
    • 1
  • Stephen Aldrich
    • 4
  • Robert T. Walker
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Criminology & LawUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Department of Earth and Environmental SystemsIndiana State UniversityTerre HauteUSA
  5. 5.Department of GeographyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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