College of Letters & Science: Political Science
APA do Planalto Central, APA Sul-RMBH, Jau National Park, Anavilhanas National Park, Brasilia National Park (all in Brazil).
Benjamin Allen studies the politics of using parks and other conservation areas to protect land and reduce deforestation in Brazil. Benjamin hypothesizes that states' economic profiles, and the location and importance of ecologically destructive industries in Brazilian states' GDPs influences federal and state governments' choices regarding where to place conservation areas, and what types of conservation areas to create (i.e. strict protection, such as national parks, or sustainable use, such as extractive reserves or national or state forests). He evaluates this hypothesis by comparing the federal and state conservation area systems in four Brazilian states: Amazonas and Para in the Amazon, and Minas Gerais and the Federal District of Brasilia. His analysis incorporates over eighty semi-structured interviews carried out with key actors in environmental politics and management in Brazil, as well as quantitative modeling, including GIS mapping and statistical analyses of data sets on management and politics in the 310 federal conservation areas in Brazil.