In the late 1980s, images of Amazon destruction began to gain relevance in Brazilian and world press. Accelerated deforestation, fires, predatory logging, and gold mines’ proliferation exerted tremendous environmental and social pressure on the region. At that time, the American ecologist Christopher Uhl, then a visiting researcher at Embrapa, researched degraded areas in eastern Pará and was concerned with little understanding and scarce documentation of these transformations in the Amazonian landscape. He understood that the scarcity of applied research on such changes weakened the debate about the causes of this environmental degradation and alternatives for a sustainable Amazon. Uhl also found a great lack of professionals with higher education able to study these phenomena in a multidisciplinary way and report them in a didactic and strategic way to decision-makers. In this crisis, he identified an opportunity to serve the Amazon and, in partnership with Adalberto Veríssimo, David McGrath and Paulo Barreto, decided to create Imazon, an applied and multidisciplinary research institute to study (with an emphasis on the empirical approach) and seek solutions to the crucial problems of the use and conservation of natural resources in Amazon.

The idea of creating Imazon was born in 1988, but its foundation only occurred on July 10, 1990.  Over more than two years, Uhl, Veríssimo, MacGrath and Barreto discussed the mission, values and the approach of the future institute´s work. To this end, they reviewed other institutional experiences in Brazil and the humid tropics and established debates on the proposal of creating Imazon with dozens of intellectual, social and political leaders in Amazon. Currently, Veríssimo and Barreto are senior researchers at Imazon and Chris Uhl returned to the United States in 1995 and is a professor at Pennsylvania State University. MacGrath, in turn, is a professor at Naea (UFPA) and an associate researcher at Ipam.

The consolidation of Imazon over decades of existence would not have been possible without the contribution of more than a hundred employees who worked at the Institute over that time, dozens of visiting researchers and associates, and members of the Institute’s director and advisory boards . Finally, Imazon has had a broad and productive partnership with a series of public, private and non-governmental institutions in its multiple activities, in addition to the partnership with national and international financiers who have generously supported it in carrying out its activities.


Promote conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon.


The Amazon as an area where biodiversity, forest cover and associated environmental services are conserved and sustainable development is implemented in order to guarantee decent living conditions for all the region inhabitants.


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Solutions to the problems of using natural resources must be based on sustainability principles, which is the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes and functions, biological diversity, and productivity over time. This means respecting all forms of life and nature’s cycles, valuing cultural diversity, strengthening sustainable local economies, considering the environmental and social costs involved in production processes and promoting efforts to share benefits (sharing power in decision making and divide the goods and services created sustainably).

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Adopt a respectful relationship with other institutions and social actors; respecting copyright; respecting professional codes of ethics; not discriminating race, creed, social position or ideological position in internal and external relations.

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Use of the scientific method

Imazon conducts objective and impartial analyzes, based on scientific methods proven in specialized literature.

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Excellence in quality

Imazon’s products undergo rigorous internal quality control and peer review process. This reinforces the Institute’s credibility and respect.

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