The links among environmental change, notions of security, and social conflicts in the Brazilian Amazon are multiple and complex. Successive Brazilian governments and the Brazilian military have found a distinct relationship between environmental matters and security issues through a focus on state sovereignty. This relationship is often articulated in terms of defending national sovereignty instead of preserving Brazilian ecosystems. Furthermore, the links between environmental change and social conflicts should be understood through a multi-step process of externalities, referred to here as “side-effects,” where ecological scarcities contribute to other political, social and economic conditions that more directly precipitate conflict. Hence, direct causal links between environmental change and social conflicts are rare in the Brazilian Amazon.