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At 6,000,000 km2, the Amazon basin is a critical hotspot of global biodiversity. The Amazon lowland is often incorrectly portrayed as a single homogenous unit, a vast and unpopulated region (Eva & Huber 2005). In actuality, nine countries comprise the Amazon, creating a mosaic of ecological, cultural and political boundaries (Manne 2003, Maffi 2005). Our aim is to test whether these Amazonian borderlands have greater conservation significance than the Amazonian interior. The political geography has profound effects on conservation as each country designates and maintains area differently (Eva & Huber 2005). Depending on management type, protected areas shelter ecosystems from an array of environmental disruption including: resource extraction, hunting, large-scale agriculture and urban encroachment (Rodrigues et al. 2004). Due to these protections, we assume that regions with higher percent of protected area are more biodiverse than similar unprotected areas (Bruner et al. 2001). Therefore, we use national protected areas as a proxy for biological diversity.

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Conference Date

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., April 14-19, 2010


Washington D.C.


Geographic Information Sciences | Geography | Physical and Environmental Geography

An Analysis of the Conservation Importance of Amazon Borderlands Using Geographic Information Systems


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