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The Political Economy of Deforestation of the Northwestern Colombian Amazon
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology Education. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. (Stockholm Resilience Centre)
2021 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Amazon has experienced rapid forest loss in the past decades due to the growing colonization, infrastructure development and commercial agriculture expansion. Understanding the underlying social, political and economic drivers of deforestation is key to curb deforestation of the Amazon basin. However, analysis of deforestation has primarily been conducted in Brazil and there is a need to study this phenomenon in other countries such as Colombia. This research intends to contribute to this growing body of knowledge to better understand drivers and processes of deforestation in the Northwestern Colombian Amazon by unpacking the causal mechanism underpinning deforestation. To achieve this, I a used Theory-building Process-tracing approach to conceptualize the underlying logics of deforestation in the region. Data collection included qualitative text analysis of policy documents, articles, reports, and grey literature, and virtual semi-structured interviews with key national, regional and local actors. Interviews’ format was adapted due to current travelling and social restrictions. Findings indicate that the power vacuum resulting from FARC guerrilla demobilization acted as a window of opportunity for peasants, squatters, narco-traffickers, cattle ranchers, landlords and other investors to access public lands and capitalize from converting forests to coca crops and pastures for cattle ranching. Capital accumulation has increased actors’ ability to reshape the landscape and societal organization by accumulating different forms and sources of power. Traditional elites, and old and emerging narco-bourgeoisie have capitalized on preexisting power asymmetries by disproportionally accumulating different social power seeking to consolidate territorial hegemony. Powerful actors exercise attained sources and forms of power to dispose historically marginalized groups – such as indigenous communities, peasants, and squatters – from their means of subsistence and production, resulting in the instauration of a capitalist economy based on land rent and drug trafficking. All this has deepened forest loss, inequalities and conflict over land access between actors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. , p. 92
Keywords [en]
Amazon, Colombia, power dynamics, political economy, hegemony
National Category
Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-194096OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-194096DiVA, id: diva2:1564852
Presentation
2021-06-03, 11:00 (English)
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Examiners
Available from: 2021-06-14 Created: 2021-06-12 Last updated: 2021-06-28Bibliographically approved

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Department of Biology EducationStockholm Resilience Centre
Agricultural Science, Forestry and FisheriesEnvironmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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CiteExportLink to record
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