Hydropower and the future of Amazonian biodiversity

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In an effort to ensure energy independence and exploit mineral resources, thegovernments of Amazonian countries are embarking on a major dam building drive on thebasin’s rivers, with 191 dams finished and a further 246 planned or under construction. Thisrush to harvest the basin’s vast renewable energy capacity has come without proper considerationof the likely negative environmental externalities on the world’s most speciosefreshwater and terrestrial biotas. Here we highlight the economic drivers for hydropowerdevelopment and review the literature to summarise the impacts of dam building on Amazonianbiodiversity.We identify both direct and indirect impacts through the anticipated loss,fragmentation and degradation of riparian habitats. We then propose a series of measures toassess, curb and mitigate the impacts of destructive dams on Amazonian biodiversity.

Alexander C. Lees; Carlos A. Peres, Philip M. Fearnside, Maurı´cio Schneider, Jansen A. S. Zuanon

Biodivers Conserv (2016)

 

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