Philip M. Fearnside, Ph.D.

Research Professor
National Institute for Research in the Amazon
Caixa Postal 478
City, Zip
Manaus-Amazonas, 69011-970
Award Year


Project Details

Fearnside used to his fellowship to focus on advocacy and outreach to enhance public interest in Amazonia's environmental challenges as well as global-scale conservation problems. He devoted a significant amount of time to speaking out on these topics, giving 73 invited lectures and 33 contributed presentations, participating in seven evaluation missions, and in 14 additional conferences. He developed a talk entitled "Fatal 5: Lessons of the World Bank's most Notorious Debacles in Brazil, Indonesia, Botswana, China and India", which challenges the assumption that what is observed in tropical countries is data that can only be woven into a global synthesis from Western perspective.

Fearnside also continued field data collection programs for quantifying deforestation's impacts on greenhouse emissions, soil erosion and hydrology as well as agricultural systems that lead to deforestation in the Amazon region. His greenhouse gas emission calculations indicate a much greater impact from Brazil's deforestation than do the official figures.


Philip Fearnside's work centers on the relationship between human activities and conservation, such as agriculture and tropical forest protection, by seeking ways in which these activities can be sustainably balanced. He has worked on some of the most controversial issues in the Amazon region, from challenging official Brazilian government estimates of the greenhouse emissions from deforested tracts to revealing the true sources of deforestation.

From 1969-1971, Fearnside was a Peace Corps volunteer in northwestern India, focusing on food production and advising the Rajasthan state government on reservoir fisheries management. Upon returning to the University of Michigan to pursue his doctorate, he switched to the "other side of the equation", that is, bringing population and resource consumption into line with the Earth's limits. He has lived in Brazilian Amazonia more than 20 years.



Ph.D., University of Michigan
1978: Biological Sciences, Michigan, USA

Master of Science, University of Michigan
1973: Zoology, Michigan, USA

Bachelor of Arts, Colorado College
1969: Biology, Colorado, USA


Marine Fellow
1990: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment

1st place
1989: Brazil National Ecology Prize

2nd place
1988: Brazil National Ecology Prize


  • Fearnside, P.M. 2005. Brazil's Samuel Dam: Lessons for Hydroelectric Development Policy and the Environment in Amazonia. Environmental Management 35(1): 31 pages
  • Fearnside, P.M. 2002. Greenhouse gas emissions from a hydroelectric reservoir (Brazil's Tucuru´ Dam) and the energy policy implications. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 133:69-96
  • Fearnside, P.M. 2002. Time preference in global warming calculations: A proposal for a united index. Ecological Economics 41:21-31
  • Fearnside, P.M. 2001. Environmental impacts of Brazil's Tucuru´ Dam: Unlearned lessons for hydroelectric development in Amazonia . Environmental Management 27:377-396
  • de Alencastro Graca, P.M.L, P.M. Fearnside and C.C. Cerri. 1999. Burning of Amazonian forest in Ariquemes, Rondonia, Brazil: biomass, charcoal formation and burning efficiency. Forest ecology and management 120(12): 59
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1997. Environmental services as a strategy for sustainable development in rural Amazonia. Ecological Economics 20(1): 53
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1997. Wood density for estimating forest biomass in Brazilian Amazonia. Forest Ecology and Management 90(1): 59
  • Silva-Forsberg, M. C. and P.M. Fearnside. 1997. Brazilian Amazonian caboclo agriculture: effect of fallow period on maize yield. Forest Ecology and Management 97(3): 283
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1996. Amazonian deforestation and global warning: carbon stocks in vegetation replacing Brazil's Amazon forest. Forest Ecology and Management 80(1): 21
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1995. Potential impacts of climatic change on natural forests and in forestry in Brazilian Amazonia. Forest Ecology and Management 78(1): 51
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1994. A Grave Embarrassment for the Impact Profession: The Canadian Feasibility Study of the Three Gorges Dam. Impact Assessment
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1990. A Hidrelétrica de Balbina: O Faraonismo Irreversível versus o Ambiente na Amazônia.. Instituto de Antropologia Meio-Ambiente (IAMA) Editora Brasiliense, São Paulo
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1990. Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia. In: The Earth in Transition: Patterns and Processes of Biotic Impoverishment. (Woodwell G.M. ed.). Cambridge University Press, New York
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1990. Environmental destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. In: The Future of Amazonia: Destruction or Sustainable Development? (A. Hall and D. Goodman eds.). Macmillan, London
  • Fearnside, P.M. 1990. Practical targets for sustainable development in Amazonia. In: Maintenance of the Biosphere: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Environmental Future (J. Burnett and N. Polunin, eds.). Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, Scotland, p. 167-174