Fri Apr 27, 2012, 08:28 PM
Dead_Parrot (14,413 posts)
Study Predicts Grim Ecological Effects for Proposed Amazon Dams
Proposals to build more than 150 hydroelectric dams on Andean tributaries of the Amazon River could have catastrophic ecological impacts, causing the first major breaks between the tributaries and the Amazon and leading to widespread forest loss, according to a study published today in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.
The study by researchers at the environmental advocacy group Save America’s Forests, the Center for International Environmental Law, and North Carolina State University found that 47 percent of dams planned for Amazon tributaries in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru would have a high environmental impact, suggesting the need for additional evaluation and increased regional planning.
Examples of high-impact dams, according to the study, include the Andaquí dam in Colombia, which would cause the first major break in connectivity for the Caqueta River and would flood a national park; and the Coca Codo Sinclair in Ecuador, which would disrupt downstream sediment flow for a major tributary of the Napo River and would require extensive construction in primary forest for roads and transmission lines. (See a map with impact assessments from the study).
“If there is continued business as usual, 20 years from now we could be looking at a catastrophic scenario where he have cut off the Andes from the Amazon,” said lead author Matt Finer, a staff ecologist at Save America’s Forests, who received a National Geographic Society grant to gather data on proposed dams and other environmental threats to the region. “The current lack of strategic planning has become an important issue.”
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