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Volume 57 / Social Sciences

GEOGRAPHY: BRAZIL


KEITH D. MULLER, Associate Professor of Geography, Kent State University


NOT SURPRISINGLY, topics related to Amazonia dominate the literature on Brazilian geography. One work in this category, The fragile tropics of Latin America, edited by Toshie Nishizawa and Juha I. Uitto, warrants special mention (item bi 97003879). Three chapters within this work are especially worthy of consideration. The first, by Hilgard O'Reilly Sternberg, contemplates the uncertain future of Amazonia wetlands (item bi 95007500); Emilio F. Moran considers ecosystem management in the second (item bi 93002833); and Mário Hiraoka discusses non-agricultural economic activities in the third (item bi 98002864). Four additional chapters deal with the Brazilian Northeast examining white sand soils, drought-deciduous vegetation, characteristics and utilization of tree species, and land-use changes in regard to irrigation.

T. Nishizawa, one of the editors of The fragile tropics, was awarded the distinguished Order of Rio Branco, the highest civilian award granted for service to Brazil. This honor pays tribute to his work in Amazonia and the state of Rio de Janeiro, as well as recognizing his leadership of the University of Tskuba (Japan) research team expeditions in the Northeast of Brazil in the 1980s. These expeditions resulted in numerous articles in English and Japanese, particularly in the interdisciplinary journal Latin American Studies, which Nishizawa founded. Professor Nishizawa has also served since 1993 as the Japanese advisor to G-7's Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rainforest.

Nigel Smith et al. provide a balanced study of causal factors behind land-use changes (item bi 98002870). J.H.C. Gash et al. offer a collection of technical chapters concerning the impact of deforestation on climate (item bi 98002609). Browder and Godfrey present a valuable study of Amazonia’s urbanization (item bi 98002607). Leonel’s work critically analyzes the proposed extension of Highway BR-364 from Rondonia state to Peru and the Pacific (item bi 96002504).

Relevant journals, many first-time additions to the Handbook, include Geografia, Revista do Departamento de Geografia, Secolas (see item bi 96021974), Boletím de Geografia Teorética, Ciência & Ambiente, and Ciência Hoje. Boletím de Geografia Teorética includes many climate studies. Ciência &ampersand; Ambiente mostly features local case studies from Rio Grande do Sul. Ciência Hoje, in a format similar to Scientific America, includes geographical topics, such as (item bi 96018654).

An article by M.. Hiraoka (item bi 98002864) examines sustainable development options for traditional and changing land-use patterns related to riverine agroforestry along the Tocantíns River, near the mouth of the Amazon.

Norman D. Johns Jr.’s PhD dissertation, “Brazil’s Chocolate Forest: Environmental and Economic Role of Conservation in Bahia’s Cocoa Agroecosystem,” also deserves mention. According to Johns, farmers often avoid the government policy of shade tree removal, and thus help preserve endangered trees and other flora.


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