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Nature. 2017 Jun 14;546(7658):363-369. doi: 10.1038/nature22333.

Damming the rivers of the Amazon basin.

Author information

1
University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geography and the Environment, Austin, Texas, USA.
2
Earth Observatory of Singapore and Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
3
University of California at Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Santa Barbara, California, USA.
4
University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
5
National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA), Manaus, Brazil.
6
Institute of Floodplain Ecology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Rastatt, Germany.
7
Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment, Durham, USA.
8
Yachay Tech, Geological Sciences, Urcuquí, Ecuador.
9
University of California at Berkeley, Energy and Resources Group, Berkeley, California, USA.
10
Federal University of Amazonas, Department of Geography, Manaus, Brazil.
11
University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, Oxford, UK.
12
State University of Sao Paulo (UNESP-Rio Claro), Department of Applied Geology, Rio Claro, Brazil.

Abstract

More than a hundred hydropower dams have already been built in the Amazon basin and numerous proposals for further dam constructions are under consideration. The accumulated negative environmental effects of existing dams and proposed dams, if constructed, will trigger massive hydrophysical and biotic disturbances that will affect the Amazon basin's floodplains, estuary and sediment plume. We introduce a Dam Environmental Vulnerability Index to quantify the current and potential impacts of dams in the basin. The scale of foreseeable environmental degradation indicates the need for collective action among nations and states to avoid cumulative, far-reaching impacts. We suggest institutional innovations to assess and avoid the likely impoverishment of Amazon rivers.

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PMID:
28617466
DOI:
10.1038/nature22333
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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