Since colonial times the position of the social, political and economic elites in Latin America has been intimately connected to their control over natural resources. Consequently, struggles to protect the environment from over-exploitation and contamination have been related to marginalized groups’ struggles against local, national and transnational elites. The recent rise of progressive, left-leaning governments – often supported by groups struggling for environmental justice – has challenged the established elites and raised expectations about new regimes for natural resource management.

Based on case-studies in eight Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, El Salvador and Guatemala), this book investigates the extent to which there have been elite shifts, how new governments have related to old elites, and how that has impacted on environmental governance and the management of natural resources. It examines the rise of new cadres of technocrats and the old economic and political elites’ struggle to remain influential. The book also discusses the challenges faced in trying to overcome structural inequalities to ensure a more sustainable and equitable governance of natural resources.

This timely book will be of great interest to researchers and masters students in development studies, environmental management and governance, geography, political science and Latin American area studies.

chapter 1|14 pages

Environmental governance and sustainable development in Latin America

ByBenedicte Bull, Mariel Aguilar-Støen

chapter 2|16 pages

Elites, classes and environmental governance

Conceptual and theoretical challenges
ByBenedicte Bull

part 1|80 pages

Agriculture and biotechnology

chapter 3|18 pages

El Salvador

The challenge to entrenched elites and the difficult road to a sustainable development model
ByBenedicte Bull, Nelson Cuéllar, Susan Kandel

chapter 4|20 pages


Emerging and traditional elites and the governance of the soy sector
ByMarte Høiby, Joaquín Zenteno Hopp

chapter 5|21 pages


Government–agribusiness elite dynamics and its consequences for environmental governance
ByJoaquín Zenteno Hopp, Eivind Hanche-Olsen, Héctor Sejenovich

chapter 6|19 pages


Changing biosafety frames and new political forces in Correa's government
ByPablo Andrade, Joaquín Zenteno Hopp

part 2|58 pages


chapter 7|18 pages

New elites around South America's strategic resources

ByBarbara Hogenboom

chapter 8|19 pages

Staying the same

Transnational elites, mining and environmental governance in Guatemala
ByMariel Aguilar-Støen

part 3|45 pages


chapter 10|19 pages

REDD+ and forest governance in Latin America

The role of science-policy networks
ByMariel Aguilar-Støen, Cecilie Hirsch

chapter 11|16 pages

State governments and forest policy

A new elite in the Brazilian Amazon?
ByFabiano Toni, Larissa C. L. Villarroel, Bruno Taitson Bueno

chapter 12|8 pages


With or against elites? How to move towards more sustainable environmental governance in Latin America
ByBenedicte Bull, Mariel Aguilar-Støen