Get the CIFOR publications update

CIFOR publishes over 400 publications every year on forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy, agroforestry and much more in multiple languages.

Rural-urban migration brings conservation threats and opportunities to Amazonian watersheds

Rural-urban migration brings conservation threats and opportunities to Amazonian watersheds

The spatial distribution and growth of human populations have been overlooked by current debates concerning the impact of rural–urban migration for forest conservation in tropical countries. We investigated human settlement and population change in the Brazilian Amazon, combining government census data with field surveys along rivers. Rural populations were clustered and growing within 300 km of urban centers, whereas depopulation and land abandonment dominated farther from towns. The permanently inhabited extent of rivers contracted by 33 ± 8 SE% in recent decades, and households farther upriver were more likely to be considering rural–urban migration.However, harvesting of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife by nonresidents continued into headwater regions, hundreds of kilometers beyond the last household on any given river. Policy makers should consider that expanding cities may drive deforestation and overexploitation near towns while unclear property rights threatens overharvesting and unregulated land speculation in abandoned headwaters.

Authors: Parry, L.; Peres, C.A.; Day, B.; Amaral, S.

Topic: rural urban migration,forest conservation,population growth

Geographic: Amazonia

Publication Year: 2010

ISSN: 1755-263X

Source: Conservation Letters 3(4): 251–259

DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00106.x

Altmetric score:

Download Option:

Export Citation

Related viewing


CIFOR website usability survey

We're conducting research on our website and we'd love to hear from you about your experience on This will help us make improvements and prioritize new features. The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email us:

We really appreciate your input!

Start survey
I don’t want to participate
Remind me later