Isolated Tribes and Forests Threatened by New Amazon Road


Communities in Peru are opposing a major development project approved by their central government. (National Geographic)

Use our inquiry-based lesson plan to help students analyze the impact of building a road in the Amazon.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

Critics are concerned development in the Amazon could lead to further deforestation, an increase in the illegal logging of mahogany trees, and displacement of local indigenous communities.
Photograph by Ivan Kashinsky, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas
Use these questions to start student inquiry. Then, use our lesson to help explore the geographical, cultural, and environmental context of building the road, identify the stakeholders and their role and impact, and map out the intended and unintended consequences from the decision that they make.



  • Why do some indigenous peoples oppose construction of the Purús road?
    • Many indigenous groups oppose the proposal because the road cuts through five protected areas set aside for communities choosing to live in isolation. Critics are concerned the road would interfere with both their health and their way of life. One expert says exposure to infrastructure would make these communities vulnerable to displacement and disease, while another says “[t]he ‘national interest’ cannot be prioritized over fundamental rights of people in voluntary isolation and initial contact, nor those of local communities.”



  • The proposal to construct the Purús road was made very quickly. Why does that concern critics?



Nat Geo: Isolated Tribes and Forests Threatened by New Amazon Road

Nat Geo: Making a Decision about Building a Road in the Amazon

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