||The causes and consequences of tropical deforestation are not confined to the geographical region of the Third World where it takes place. This paper examines the socio-environmental dynamics of pasture-led deforestation to logging-led deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon through three theoretical frameworks: neo-Malthusian theory of population dynamics; Garrett Hardin’s reformulation of the ‘tragedy of the commons’; and Peter Taylor’s and Garcia-Barrio’s socio-ecological analysis of environmental change. The root cause of pasture-led to logging-led deforestation has little to do with ‘overpopulation’ or landlessness. Instead, deforestation is caused by a particular nexus of social, economic, ecological, historical, and political factors. Regional development programmes based on the exploitation of the forest land without a comprehensive vision of sustainable forest resource utilization and management did not generate real development, instead they created further environmental destruction and social unrest.