For the past several decades, a fierce tug-of-war over the Amazonian Rainforest has played out between those who wish to protect the rainforest from economic development and those who wish to exploit the rainforest for its agricultural, timber and mineral resources. The former believe that the diverse biological riches of the Amazon and the services the rainforest renders the planet as a global carbon sink are generally more valuable than are the resources that might be developed there. The latter, of course, for the most part disagree. Many support an optimal mix of conservation and development, but there is little consensus about what that might be.
Blairo Maggi, governor of the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil and owner of the Andre Maggi group, the world’s largest producer of soybeans, will discuss the competition for Amazonian resources and the implications of that competition for Brazilian development. Roger Sedjo, a forest economist and senior fellow at Resources for the Future, will discuss the ecological costs of deforestation and possible remedies.