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Chapter 12 Questions and Vocabulary

• Escarpment: A steep cliff that separates 2 level areas of differing elevations.

• Sertao: An interior plateau in Brazil with poor soil and uncertain rain.
• Favela: A slum community in a Brazilian city.
• Plantation: A large estate farmed by many workers.
• Gasohol: A fuel mixture of gasoline and ethanol.
• Deforestation: The process of stripping the land of its trees.
• Ecotourism: Tourism that encourages environmental awareness and has little effect on the

1. Environment of NE Brazil?
• Planes and plateaus—escarpment behind the coastal plains
• Sugar plantations along fertile coastal plain
• Sertao lies inland from the NE’s coastal plains
• Sertao—tropical wet + dry climate—bakes through a year+ drought
2. Economy of NE Brazil?
• Port cities ship sugar to Europe
• Brazil—world’s major producer of sugar.
• Severe poverty
3. Environmental + economic challenges in the NE?
• Environmental:
o Land is devastated because hard soil cannot absorb heavy rainfall
• Economic:
o Because of impoverished lives and chronic malnutrition—severe poverty
o Life expectancy at birth is 49 years
o A family’s yearly income may only be 1/3 the income of a similar family living in the SE.
4. Impact of rapid urbanization on housing conditions for urban dwellers?
• Higher standard of housing
• Most end up in favelas due to under education and no experience
5. What pull factors encourage urbanization in Brazil?
• Humid subtropical climate + fertile soil—farmers can easily grow great quantities of cash
• Referred to as the world’s “coffeepot”—growing ¼ of the world’s supply
• The beauty, excitement, and economic health of Rio and Sao Paulo draw rural Brazilians
looking for a better life
6. Affect of urbanization on SE Brazil?
• People migrate here to work on coffee plantations
• Rural Brazilians looking for a better life come to Rio and Sao Paulo—but many find no jobs/settle for
low-paying ones—most end up in favelas
7. Why government encouraged urban growth + economic development in the Brazilian Highlands?
• Rio de Janeiro was overcrowded + government wanted to make it less crowded by creating another
• Hoping to boost development of the interior and draw people away from the coastal cities
8. Main characteristics of the Amazon River basin ecosystems?
• Largest + least explored region
• Spreads across ½+ the country
• 80+ inches of rain/year due to moist trade winds that blow from the Atlantic Ocean
• Heavy rainfall and constant temperatures of about 80 F—growing season never ends
• Home to 1000s of species of plants + animals
• 10% of Brazilians live in the Amazon Basin, including 200,000 Indians from 180 different tribes
• 2-5 million Indians killed by diseases/settlers that Europeans brought w/them.
• Panara tribe devastated due to encountering new diseases
• Reservations set up for Indians—some argue this will lead to loss of culture + way of life
9. Economic challenges of the urban + rural poor?
• Most of Brazil’s poorest people live in the urban favelas/rural northeast
• Many parents in favelas cannot feed/house their children, much less provide them
• Hungry, homeless children live
10. Differences in the workforce + profitability of commercial farming (plantations) vs. subsistence
• Wealthy families own the profitable plantations
• Most rural workers find work on plantations/become subsistence farmers working small plots of land
that barely support a family
• B/cus of these conditions people protested, President Cardoso promised to distribute the land, but
millions of families remained w/out land.
• Many farmers live in the inhospitable region of the sertao
o Poor soil, scarce grazing land, and droughts
11. 2 major aims of the programs begun by the Brazilian government since the mid 1940s?
• Boost the growth of industry + encourage settlement and development in the country’s interior
12. How did government policies encourage economic activities + new patterns of settlement?
• Economic Activities:
o Built country’s first steel mill + oil refinery
o Built a series of huge hydroelectric dams to produce power for the planned industrial
o Established a bank that loaned money to people who wanted to start new businesses
• Patterns of Settlement
o Brasilia—new capital in 1950s
 600 miles inland from Atlantic coast—encouraged settlement
 It’s shape of a bow and arrow/airplane symbolizes movement—the readiness of
the country to take off
o Road-building project w/Brasilia as its center
 Because country had few roads except along coasts
 By 1970s country boasted 1000s of miles of new roads—easier transportation
o Gov gave away 1000s of plots of lands + mining/prospecting permits
 New roads + free land grants drew many settlers
13. Role of sugar plantations in Brazil’s economic growth?
• Changed the way Brazilians earn a living
• Gasohol—made from gasoline + ethanol—a type of alcohol made from Brazil’s own sugar cane
• Brazil no longer has to import expensive foreign fuel—they are growing their own
14. Effects of economic growth on the labor force in Brazil?
• 1940: 2/3 of workforce in agriculture
• 2000: 1/3 of workforce in manufacturing, construction, /mining
• ½ the labor force now works in service industries that have sprung as offshoots of the nations
industrial growth
15. How has economic development of the Amazon affected the soil + farming?
• After cleaning forest to plant crops, only thick vegetation had kept soil + nutrients from washing
away during heavy rains
• After a few years of farming + erosion, the soil was no longer usable
16. How is Brazil trying to address the issue of deforestation?
• Each year during the dry season, military personnel + police combine forces to seize illegally
logged timber
• Taxation policies encourage farmers, ranchers, + foresters to maintain rain forest areas
• Government also encourages ecotourism, or tourism that encourages environmental
awareness and has little effect on the ecosystem