For over forty years, Brazil, its subnational governments, Indigenous communities, other nations, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and individuals have worked to conserve the Amazon rainforest through a staggering number of diverse international initiatives. While some initiatives have supported Brazil in decreasing the rate of deforestation over the past fifteen years, the 2019 fires demonstrated that destruction continues. Left unchecked, this irreversible destruction promises to amplify. Fortunately, the long history of global involvement in Amazon conservation provides ample lessons for effective, place-based deforestation prevention. Thoughtful and coordinated international action can address the current lethal combination of destructive factors: Brazil’s environmentally hostile federal administration, its national economic recession, and surging international demand for deforestation commodities. This Article curates lessons learned from over four decades of international efforts to conserve the Amazon rainforest and synthesizes them into a more effective and efficient strategy. Due to the urgency caused by the climate crisis and the Amazon’s impending “tipping point,” this Article analyzes the issue through a retrospective lens, drawing insight from past and existing initiatives—because what has been done is possible. Because this Article’s proposal relies on existing global alliances, political motivation, institutions, and mechanisms, the burden of its implementation is considerably reduced. There simply is no time for starting fresh.

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