Located in the southwestern portion of the North region , Acre has an area of 152581 km 2 . It is bordered by the states of Amazonas , to the north; Rondônia , to the east; with Bolivia, to the southeast; and with Peru, to the south and west. It houses the extreme west point of Brazil in the Serra da Contamana.
Due to its western geographical position, it is the only state in the country that is two time zones behind Brasilia time. As it is located in low latitudes, Acre has a predominance of the equatorial climate with high temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year.
The vegetation consists of extensive areas of the Amazon Forest with more open stretches, in places subject to flooding, and closed forest and with tall trees on the so-called terra firma. It is one of the Brazilian states with the largest continuous area of intact forest, with 31.51% of its territory destined for areas of environmental preservation or indigenous reserves.
In its relief , the worn forms of depression in the Western Amazon and some areas of the Amazonian plain predominate. To the west, in the Serra da Contamana, are the highest altitudes in the state, located 600 m above sea level.
According to Printerhall, Acre has a wide drainage network formed by rivers that are fundamental to the displacement of the population. Most of the urban areas are located next to river courses.
Belonging to the Amazon basin , the Acre rivers flow from southwest to northwest, but their layout may undergo minor changes due to the presence of meanders, the fall of trees, the breakdown of the banks and the growth of aquatic vegetation.
The most important are: Purus, Juruá, Moa and Acre. The Purus River has rugged stretches, allowing, in the state of Acre, only the navigation of small vessels. Its floods occur from February to April, and the ebb, in September.
Population and political aspects of Acre
Acre was only elevated to the category of state of the Federation in 1962. Until that year, it had the status of territory, which implied not having political autonomy. Its rulers were chosen by the federal government.
In 2017, the population was estimated at about 830,000 inhabitants, with a demographic density of 4.47 inhab./km 2 . In 2010, the state’s Human Development Index (HDI) was 0.663.
The majority of the population is urban. The most important cities are: the capital, Rio Branco; Cruzeiro do Sul; Sena Madureira; Tarauacá and Senador Guiomard.
Ethnically, descendants of Portuguese, indigenous and black people predominate. But the state received flows of Syrian-Lebanese and Barbadian immigrants, blacks from Barbados who came to work on the construction of the Madeira-Mamoré railway.
The native population suffered a great impact due to the process of territorial occupation. In the 19th century, there were 150,000 Indians; in 2010, according to Funai, there were around 17,578 individuals. The main causes of death were the contact with diseases transmitted by whites and the murders carried out by the different groups that occupied these lands economically. During the rubber cycle, the Indians served as guides and bushmen for rubber tappers looking for new areas of latex extraction. When the first production crisis occurred, in 1912, they replaced the Northeastern rubber tappers as labor.
There are two main indigenous linguistic trunks in Acre: Aruaque, which predominated in the Purus River basin, and Panos, which dominated the Juruá River. Funai seeks to assist the tribes threatened by agricultural companies. The demarcated indigenous lands correspond to 14% of the state’s area.
The economy of Acre
The subsistence of the people of Acre is based mainly on the extraction of rubber and nuts. Due to the traditional link with this activity, the largest extractive reserve in Brazil, called Reserva Chico Mendes , was created in the state , with an area of 931 062 hectares and about 9 thousand inhabitants. It is located in a territory that covers six municipalities: Xapuri, Brasiléia, Rio Branco, Assis Brasil, Capixaba and Sena Madureira. The purpose of creating the reserve is to guarantee the sustainable use of this stretch of forest. However, the area’s surroundings are already the target of numerous environmental impacts.
Although the extraction of latex is traditional in the state, the activity faces numerous obstacles due to the lack of government incentives, mainly related to rational strategies of extraction and processing of the product. In addition, fluctuations in international prices do not stimulate activity, and the traditional extraction methodology, in which the rubber tapper enters the forest to make cuts in the rubber tree trunk, is not very productive.
The rubber tappers are in the so-called “ placements ”, areas where their homes are located, the exits to the syringe roads (paths they travel to bleed the trees) and the work places with latex.
Largest national producer of Brazil nuts , Acre is the setting for investments in the product processing sector. There are partnerships with Bolivia to increase fruit exports and generate more jobs for the local population.
Other activities developed in the Acre territory are livestock, with emphasis on the bovine herd; agriculture, mainly cassava, corn, rice and bananas, although there has been an increase in the cultivation of sugar cane; industrial production in sectors such as furniture, food and ceramics.
Regional trade is carried out using the waters of the countless rivers that run through the state as a link between cities and the interior as roads.