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The Decade of Destruction, Classroom Version Series
The Colonists

Colonists invading the rainforest.

A printer-friendly version of this page 16 minutes
Directed by Adrian Cowell
Produced by Adrian Cowell, Nomad Films Ltd

The colonists who invaded the rainforest in huge numbers in the 1980's are mostly small farmers forced off their land in other parts of Brazil by increasing mechanization and the economics of cash cropping for export. When they reached the state of Rondonia they were given roughly 175 acres of virgin forest free of charge on condition that they cleared the land. This led to deforestation on a massive scale. But the tragic irony is that once the trees have been cut down the soil is so poor that many colonists were forced to abandon their land after just a couple of years.

Other titles in the series are:

The Rainforest - The mechanics of a rainforest.

The Development Road - The road to rainforest destruction.

The Indians - The displaced Indian tribes of the Amazon rainforest.

The Rubber Tappers - Rubber tappers live sustainable lifestyle.

The Politicians - Politicians plunder the Amazon rainforest.

Grade Level: 6-12
US Release Date: 1991     Copyright Date: 1991
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-457-5     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-353-5

"A sobering true story of human rapacity, The Decade of Destruction: The Indians is highly recommended for classroom viewing, along with the rest of The Decade of Destruction series: The Rainforest, The Colonists, The Development Road, The Rubber Tappers, and The Politicians."
The Midwest Book Review

"The tragedy is examined an unambiguous and intelligent manner."
Children's Video Review Newsletter

"Produced almost two decades ago, the issues in The Colonists by Adrian Cowell are as pertinent today as they were in the 1980s...Shot on location in real-time, and engagement with families caught in a tragic cycle of poverty, the production is an effective teaching tool at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Topics range from land husbandry (in non-western settings) to the need for holistic settlement and susta

Select your institution type

The Colonists

Children's Films
Developing World
Forests and Rainforests
South America

Related Titles

The Last of the Hiding Tribes
The Amazon's last uncontacted tribes face extinction.

Banking on Disaster
The grave consequences of building a road through the heart of Amazonia.

Arrows Against the Wind
The Dani and the Asmat come face to face with the modern world in Irian Jaya.

Blowpipes and Bulldozers
The story of the Penan, a tribe of rainforest nomads in Borneo, as seen by Bruno Manser.

... more Reviews

inable agricultural production policies...In making this documentary, Cowell established himself as an important filmmaker in the documentation of the growing destruction of the rainforests of Amazonia. The film remains relevant as a warning that the onslaught against nature's reserves contiinues unchecked in many places."
Fletcher O.M. Ziwoya, Ohio University, Anthropology Review Database

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