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NPR Examines "The Amazon Road"

Posted Sep 01 2009 5:09pm

The amazon Is Peru's new road headed in the right direction? From September 8 to 11, NPR's All Things Considered will examine the ramifications of Peru's monumental infrastructure project, the Interoceanic Highway, in a four-part series called "The Amazon Road."

Nearly completed, South America's Interoceanic Highway will connect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the continent, opening up a direct trade route for Brazilian products headed for China. The government of Peru claims the road will bring business and development to its ports and once-remote communities.

Environmentalists, however, see the road as a threat to the ecologically diverse Amazon rainforest. Debates over land rights and development in the Peruvian Amazon turned deadly in June when government forces clashed with indigenous demonstrators who barricaded access roads to protest oil development on native land. Indeed, some conservationists advocate barring all roads from sensitive forests, as most deforestation occurs near thruways. Highways also fragment and disrupt animal populations

NPR's upcoming coverage will focus on the controversy surrounding the highway as well as other regional issues including illegal alluvial gold mines, illegal logging, and sustainable Brazil nut farming.

--Della Watson

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