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The Economics of Sugarcane Monoculture the Amapa Rainforest

There is great potential for economic growth in the agricultural and agri-industrial sectors In Amapa due to the massive rainforest covering 81 percent of the state (Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, 2013). In total, the entire Amazonian rainforest contributes 8 percent towards Brazilian GDP (Homma, Alves, Franco, Pena & , 2012). “The state has an important forest-based economic sector, extracting both timber and non-timber products (including açai, Brazil nuts, and cipó titica)” (Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, 2013). The vast rainforest in Amapa has an immense store of value in its area, and can be used to stimulate the economy. Amapa’s exports are made up mostly of timber, yet this logging has numerous associated negative externalities (Fraser, Mollins, 2013).

The agriculture and agro-foresty sector accounts for 3.6 percent of Amapa’s GDP, with most of the GDP actually driven by public spending and the service sector (Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, 2013). Sugar and ethanol have the largest impact on the National agricultural sector, with sugarcane monocropping facilitated on 8.4 million hectares of land in Brazil (Mendonca et al., 2013). The 1.1 million Sugarcane workers in Brazil have wages above National minimum wage plus additional payment in terms of R$/ton of cane harvested (ibid). Amapa is currently considered a developing state, with a poverty rate of 42 percent (Sustainable Use of Forest Resources in Estuary Tidal Floodplains in Amapá, 2009). Development of the sugarcane industry has the potential to bring a large portion of people in Amapa out of employment; with production area increasing from 5,625,300 hectares in 2003 to 8,368,400 hectares in 2012 (Mendonca et al., 2013). Stakehol...

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