Amazonian Economy and Exploitation Concerns
The economy of Manaus, Brazil and of the Amazon Basin draws from the many natural resources of the region. The indigenous populations of the Amazonian floodplains participate minimally in the market economy, sometimes selling fish during productive seasons. Their lifestyles are predominantly self-subsistence, so there is no real need for cash. Manaus, on the other hand, is a large, developed city with a thriving local market and healthy exportation market. Products of the rainforest and river used in the market include fish, rubber, brazil nuts, hardwoods, and other plant fibers. Extracted and mined from the earth are minerals such as manganese ore, diamonds, gold, and petroleum. Eco-tourism, in which outsiders tour the land and river, is a part of the local economy. Chemical production is also a part of Manaus’ economy.
Exploitation has been a concern since the Europeans began colonizing Brazil, but it has been an area of concern more recently. One exploited population, the native peoples, is often overlooked. Colonizing Europeans exploited the natives directly – forced labor, especially for extracting hard-to-find rubber – and indirectly – by taking their land and resources. Though lawsuits regarding natives’ rights have occurred in the past decade, little action has actually taken place to enforce regulations. Natives have been subject to resource exploitation, regional development (communities, roads, mines), and land encroachment.
There is also the exploitation of natural resources. Overfishing is a problem, especially of the most popular and most profitable fish. Competition bet we en the native population and commercial fishermen is increasing, for the government cannot legally close off or limit usage of any of the rivers. A number of fish species are diminishing, and there is concern over the pirarucu, the biggest and most popular fish. Deforestation...