The success or failure of colonization in frontier areas of Brazil is an important question because of the country's declared commitment to undertake agrarian reform. However, demographic analyses of settler populations in new frontier areas suggests that these areas are not retaining agricultural settlers, but attracting transient wage-labourers in ranching, mining, construction and entrepreneurial activities such as placer mining or small businesses. One reason for this trend is the high prevalence of endemic diseases such as malaria within frontier areas. High malaria prevalence interferes with the scope and stability of permanent, agricultural settlement and this imposes economic and social costs which extend far beyond immediate need for control and treatment of the disease. © 1993.
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