Damming the rivers of the Amazon basin

Edgardo M. Latrubesse, Eugenio Y. Arima, Thomas Dunne, Edward Park, Victor Baker, Fernando M. D'Horta, Charles Wight, Florian Wittmann, Jansen Zuanon, Paul A. Baker, Camila C. Ribas, Richard B. Norgaard, Naziano Filizola, Atif Ansar, Bent Flyvbjerg, Jose C. Stevaux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

157 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-369
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume546
Issue number7658
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

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    Latrubesse, E. M., Arima, E. Y., Dunne, T., Park, E., Baker, V., D'Horta, F. M., Wight, C., Wittmann, F., Zuanon, J., Baker, P. A., Ribas, C. C., Norgaard, R. B., Filizola, N., Ansar, A., Flyvbjerg, B., & Stevaux, J. C. (2017). Damming the rivers of the Amazon basin. Nature, 546(7658), 363-369. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22333