The broad social context
The Brazilian Amazon has rightly been the focus of immense effort on the part of the international conservation community and a subject of intense controversy and debate within Brazil. Major international conservation groups, most prominently what was then the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), demonstrated their lack of understanding of the nature of the problem in their collaboration with Brazil’s military government in a vast development scheme along the Amazon’s southern border. The WWF and some other conservation groups and individual conservationists had decided that it was better to attempt to cooperate with the Brazilian government than merely to oppose it. Most conservationists were largely unaware at this point that Brazil had agricultural land sufficient to support the rural population in dignified livelihoods, as it still does.