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Ambio. 2015 Sep;44(5):426-39. doi: 10.1007/s13280-015-0642-z. Epub 2015 Mar 21.

Amazon dams and waterways: Brazil's Tapajós Basin plans.

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Department of Environmental Dynamics, National Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA), Av. André Araújo 2936, Manaus, Amazonas, 69067-375, Brazil,


Brazil plans to build 43 "large" dams (>30 MW) in the Tapajós Basin, ten of which are priorities for completion by 2022. Impacts include flooding indigenous lands and conservation units. The Tapajós River and two tributaries (the Juruena and Teles Pires Rivers) are also the focus of plans for waterways to transport soybeans from Mato Grosso to ports on the Amazon River. Dams would allow barges to pass rapids and waterfalls. The waterway plans require dams in a continuous chain, including the Chacorão Dam that would flood 18,700 ha of the Munduruku Indigenous Land. Protections in Brazil's constitution and legislation and in international conventions are easily neutralized through application of "security suspensions," as has already occurred during licensing of several dams currently under construction in the Tapajós Basin. Few are aware of "security suspensions," resulting in little impetus to change these laws.

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