The DURAMAZ indicator system: a cross-disciplinary comparative tool for assessing ecological and social changes in the Amazon

Abstract : During the last 20 years, the Amazon region has been at the same time a place of massive ecological and social change and a laboratory of experiments aimed at promoting sustainable development. Policies and project initiatives involving diverse social groups and environmental contexts have been implemented across the region. They have resulted in mixed outcomes and trade-offs between social and environmental dimensions, making their impact at the local level difficult to assess and their successes difficult to generalize. The objective of the DURAMAZ research project was to provide a better understanding of these impacts. It produced a multi-dimensional indicator system designed to allow a holistic view of sustainable development at local and subregional levels and a comparative perspective across 12 research sites, from an isolated indigenous village to smallholders and agribusiness areas in Mato Grosso. The results of the first observation campaign (2007-2009) show that despite the claim of promoting sustainable development, no project was able to untie the 'Gordian knot' of development in the Amazon. Communities continue to face the old dilemma of either enjoying a preserved ecosystem but enduring adverse life conditions, or enjoying better living at the expense of forest cover. Another finding is that the subregional context is very importantin shaping the impacts of regional policies. Thus, the same policy will not always have the same effect, depending on in which context it is applied. Finally, we found that cultural factors and a sense of place play a more important role than economic factors when it comes to the way people evaluate their own situation. This research provides the basis for a second phase of the project (2012-2016) in which we will continue to expand our sample and to refine our methodologies with the goal of transforming the initiative into a network of observatories of sustainable development in the Amazon.
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Contributor : François-Michel Le Tourneau <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 26, 2013 - 10:09:56 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 3:36:01 PM

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François-Michel Le Tourneau, Stéphanie Nasuti, Guillaume Marchand, Anna Greissing, Marcel Bursztyn, et al.. The DURAMAZ indicator system: a cross-disciplinary comparative tool for assessing ecological and social changes in the Amazon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2013, 368 (1619), pp.1-10. ⟨10.1098/rstb.2012.0475⟩. ⟨halshs-00818135⟩



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