Environment

Major Brazilian river basin under threat from farming, mining, and climate change

The Tocantins-Araguaia river basin is an integral part of its surrounding region, but the expansion of agriculture and extractive activities has left it vulnerable to profound environmental changes

river basin farming mining
Conceição do Araguaia, Pará. Photo: AgPA

The Tocantins-Araguaia basin is the largest river basin located entirely within Brazil. Comprising the Tocantins and Araguaia rivers and cutting through six states in the country’s North and Center-West regions, it is among the most predominant hydroelectric energy sources in Brazil. What’s more, the majority of its rivers are navigable, making it of extreme importance to the local economy, transporting products and people around the region.

However, the extraction of minerals — including iron ore, manganese, copper, gold, nickel, among others — and the expansion of agriculture have degraded the river basin, not to mention the constant factors...

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