The crises of the Anthropocene can neither be confronted incrementally nor through short-term, reductionist strategies. As the risk of severe, irreversible socioecological damage increases, transformative change towards achieving long-term sustainability becomes ever-pressing. Against this backdrop, we explore how transformative governance can help strengthen ecosystem resilience, empower vulnerable communities and ensure sustainable development in the Amazon. The article starts by briefly reviewing the concept of transformative governance, arguing that it provides an adequate framework for thinking about and responding to the challenges of the Anthropocene. It then looks at how extant governance practices are destroying and fragmenting the Amazon, eroding the resilience of regional ecosystems. It proceeds by investigating how the Andes–Amazon–Atlantic Corridor, a transnational project aligned with the normative commitments and operational principles of transformative governance, aimed at protecting, restoring and building socioecological connectivity in the region, can offer an alternative pathway for Amazonian development in the new geological epoch.
- There is mounting scientific evidence that the Amazon has been losing resilience and may be approaching a tipping point, whereby the rainforest will evolve to savannah. A transformative approach to the governance of the region is needed to avoid Amazon dieback.
- Protecting, restoring and building connectivity between Amazonian ecosystems and regional populations is a key solution for climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity protection and human development. Countries in the region should work together to design and implement socioecological connectivity strategies.
- Consistent social science research on the topic and increased support for regional and local initiatives aimed at creating ecological corridors are critical conditions for promoting the integration of the concepts of socioecological fragmentation and connectivity into plans, policies and governance practices on different levels.
- The election of a pro-environment president in Colombia and the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil in 2022 open a window of opportunity for transformative change across the region.
Photo by Anna Shvets