The urbanization and forest conversion processes in the Paraense Amazon – a multiescalar study

Abstract In the Brazilian Amazon, dynamics of urbanization and forest conversion have complex logics, and are dependent on factors and agents operating at different levels. This article explores the spatial and temporal evolution of urbanization and forest conversion in the Amazon region from measurable elements present in these processes: urban expansion, observable dimensions of urbanization processes, and deforestation, a measure of forest conversion processes. The identification of similar spatiotemporal patterns, evaluated according to trends in the evolution of the degree of urbanization and the increase of deforestation in the years 2000, 2010 and 2014, was the basis for proposing a typology of relation between urban expansion and deforestation for the states of the Brazilian Legal Amazon and municipalities of Pará State. The study also explored the relation between urban expansion and deforestation, using Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR), observing two spatial units of analysis for Pará State: the municipal boundaries and a regular grid (20x20km). This multiscale approach evidenced the difficulty in establishing conclusive relationships regarding co-occurrence, or agreement, between the evolution of urbanization and forest conversion processes. Our results aim to establish an agenda on regional development models which take the urban phenomenon as essential for a socially just and environmentally responsible Amazon.