Rethinking Brazil's Pantanal Wetland: Beyond Narrow Development and Conservation Debates

A.A.R. Ioris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study analyzes the challenges related to the conservation of the South American Pantanal. It is focused on one of its most impacted areas, the Cuiabá River Basin. The research findings show a clear disconnect between the official assessment and the wider public perception of the processes that drive ecohydrological change. This partially explains the difficulty to implement environmental regulatory tools that conflict with the preexisting foundations of conservation strategies promoted by public agencies. The most significant result of the research shows a lack of a shared understanding about who is responsible for environmental problems. The responsibility is largely obscure, indeterminate, it is typically related to someone else, the "vague other" who hijacks the river from the rest of society, but can't be properly identified. This perception helps to conceal the underlying causes of environmental degradation and is limiting the possibilities for resolution. The present article highlights the importance of accounting for a range of highly politicized issues at the intersection between interpersonal relations and broader socioeconomic pressures in a way that goes beyond the narrowly framed development and conservation debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-260
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Environment and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013


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