This thesis is written under the guidance of Professor Nicholas Robinson and submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Laws in Environmental Law at Pace University School of Law.

Document Type



The Amazon region contains the world’s largest river, the world’s biggest tropical forest, and the world’s richest biodiversity and is shared by nine countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela), each with its individual approach as to how to protect this environment. However, due to its unique value in the local, national, regional and global context, cooperation is required to manage this ecosystem. This thesis thus evaluates the approaches of environmental protection in the Amazon region at the national, regional, and international levels through the lens of forest protection.

At the international scale the international law on forests and negotiations to create a binding instrument were analyzed. Although there is no single binding document on forests, we analyze how other treaties and conventions can induce protection. At the regional level, we analyze the Treaty for Amazonian Cooperation (ACT), signed by Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela in 1978, and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), established by the Protocol of Amendment to ACT, signed in 2002 by its signatories, within a context of cooperation within the Amazon region. At the core of this thesis, the development of this organization is studied, along with its practical effects. At the national scale institutional framework of forest management in Bolivia, Brazil, and Ecuador were evaluated as illustrations of how some Amazon countries are addressing the complex issues within the region and how national law related to the international and regional attempts of protection.

By analyzing the cooperation among Amazon countries in different scales overlapped in the Amazon, this study demonstrated that despite the existence of cooperation, forest governance is still incipient and current mechanisms have to evolve to further provide for a true sustainable development.