The Amazon rainforest and the global–regional politics of ecosystem governance
This article examines the global–regional politics of ecosystem governance through the case of the Amazon rainforest. Despite the bourgeoning literature on global and regional environmental politics, the interplay of these dynamics in ecosystem governance has still received limited attention. I here propose that the politics of ecosystem governance are rooted in a dispute over the realization of alternative ecosystem services. When global actors become invested in promoting ecosystem preservation to secure the realization services with diffuse benefits, it can affect cooperation at the regional level. Ecosystem-adjacent states can perceive external interest as a threat, building regional cooperation as a tool to defend sovereignty, but also as an opportunity, using it to bargain the terms of their stewardship. I use this framework to trace the evolution of regional cooperation in the Amazon, demonstrating how it was developed in response to this ecosystem's growing global salience. Through defensive sovereignty and bargained stewardship, regional cooperation helped Amazon states to cap international commitment and limit external influence in the region but also allowed for building some form of coordinated ecosystem protection. The research sheds new light on both the potential and the limitations of global–regional engagements for the preservation of the Amazon and other analogous cross-border ecosystems.