Environmental Crime in the Amazon Basin: A Typology for Research, Policy and Action

There is considerable conceptual and practical ambiguity around the dimensions and drivers of environmental crime in the Amazon Basin. Some issues, such as deforestation, have featured prominently in the news media as well as in academic and policy research. Yet, the literature is less developed in relation to other environmental crimes such as land invasion, small-scale clearance for agriculture and ranching, illegal mining, illegal wildlife trafficking, and the construction of informal roads and infrastructure that support these and other unlawful activities. Drawing on a multi-disciplinary review of the literature and key informant interviews, this paper introduces a preliminary typology intended to account for the diverse categories of  environmental crime and their extensive impacts across the countries of the Amazon basin. The aim is to provide a general framework that helps advance future research on these issues, while simultaneously providing greater clarity to policy makers, law enforcement agencies, civil society actors, and companies interested in curbing environmental crime.

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