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Assessing the Amazon

Bob Walker

During an unprecedented expedition into the heart of the Amazon in June 2010, MSU geographer Bob Walker discovered surprising evidence that many of the Brazilian government’s efforts to protect the environment are working.

Walker and two fellow scientists—the first research team to travel a 700-mile stretch of the so-called Transamazon Highway in the western Amazon basin—found massive areas of undisturbed forest in the form of nationally protected areas and indigenous reserves, as well as examples of where the government had halted unofficial road building.

“We were kind of amazed by the number of good stories we actually saw,” says Walker, a veteran Amazon researcher whose work is funded by the National Science Foundation. “The environmental enforcement agencies in Brazil often do seem to be doing what they’re supposed to do.”

Ultimately, he says, the answer is sustainable growth that protects both the environment and the livelihoods and culture of Brazil’s citizens.

Watch a video of Bob Walker talking with MSUToday about his trip to the Amazon.

Visit the Changing Amazonia Web site to learn about MSU projects in the region.

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