Mark London

Mark London is a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

Till the Cows Come Home

Once economically marginal, cattle ranching in the Amazon now yields big bucks.

Marabá, the traditional hub for logging and gold-mining activities, also serves as the capital of cattle ranching in the Brazilian state of Pará. Located in southern Pará at the intersection of a trunk road of the Belém-Brasília with the Trans-Amazon highways, Marabá is also intersected by both the train that runs from the mineral-rich Carajás hills to the port of São Luís and the Tocantins River, which is navigable all the way to Belém. As the cattle-ranching industry matured first around Marabá, many of the early conclusions about its impact were drawn from nearby areas. During our first series of visits in the early 1980s, we had traveled uncomfortably by bus from Marabá to Belém for more than 18 hours. We wrote, "We gazed out the window at evidence for dire predictions of what would happen to the entire Amazon if it were cleared. The stampede into the jungle here had begun only two decades before with the completion of the Belém-Brasília Highway. Rapidly trees had been cut and...