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Productive (re)organization and landscape changes under the influence of Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant

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Author(s):
Calvi, Miquéias Freitas
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas
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Abstract

The aim of this research is to understand how the installation of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Xingu River, in the state of Pará, induced socioeconomic changes in the agricultural sector and spatial effects in the region surrounding the site. The research is structured around three fundamental elements: i) how labor mobility has impacted rural households; ii) how the dam and its demographic boom affected the organization, production dynamics and commercialization of agricultural production; and (iii) the spatial assessment of changes in land use and land cover and the possible effects of dam implementation on productive dynamics and deforestation. The main empirical research was based on a panel survey, with long-term monitoring of a fixed sample of 402 rural lots in a section of the TransAmazon Highway in the region of Altamira. Questionnaires were applied in the years 1997/98, 2005 and 2015. This last survey¿s main emphasis was on the changes induced by Belo Monte. Data sources were complemented with semi-structured interviews with twenty-five stakeholders in the Altamira region, and land use and land cover mapping for five intervals from 2003 to 2017 through Landsat 5-TM and Landsat 8-OLI images. It was found that the impacts of Belo Monte on the agricultural sector were significant, since it intensified the rural exodus, especially of part of the labor force that was previously engaged in agricultural activities. It also raised production costs in the field and mainly impacted rural families of lower financial capacity. Contrary to what was announced by the Government, the growth of the local economy had little positive effect on rural households as diversifying agricultural production or investing in food production to participate in this temporary market, became financially unfeasible for most rural households. On the other hand, parallel to the period of dam construction, productive specialization processes guided by the cocoa and beef commodities were made possible due to the valorization of these products in the international market. As a result, the decline in the rate of deforestation recorded at the end of the 2000s was interrupted and accelerated again during the dam construction period. Although Belo Monte was a project planned for decades, the state failed to develop anticipatory actions to avoid or mitigate negative externalities over the Altamira region (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/51465-0 - Social and environmental processes that accompany the construction of Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, Altamira, PA
Grantee:Emilio Federico Moran
Support type: Research Projects - SPEC Program