Hydroelectric power can threaten the future of the Amazon
Hundreds of built hydropower plants can damage life in the Amazon, “capturing” the flow of rich nutrients and changing the climate on the territory from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico.
Clear about the definition of scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, has published the results of their work in Nature.
Entrepreneurs built in South America 428 dams for hydroelectricity, 140 dams are planned to be built in the Amazon, the largest and most complex network of river canals in the world, an ecosystem which is one of the richest in the world.
Streams and the surrounding forests provide 20% of the freshwater on the planet.
Scientists have developed a vulnerability index for the environment of the dams to determine the existing and potential threat from the dams to the ecosystem of the Amazon basin.
The researchers found that many of the existing dams are located in areas with large amounts of suspended fine – grained perekidyvaem on the bottom of the particle.
Rivers Maranon and Ucayali were the most vulnerable. On the first are 104 dams, on the second — 47. Researchers estimate that about 68-80% of the area rivers remain unprotected from the influence of hydroelectric power.
The highest index value was found for the Madeira river, which accounts for about half of the total quantity of solid effluent of the Amazon, migrated from Bolivia and Peru, which is home to the most diverse fish populations.
It is noted that Madeira has recently built two huge dams, dam of Santo Antonio and jirau, which led to a twenty percent reduction in the average concentration of sediment in the river.
“If all planned hydropower plants will be built, their combined effect will change the amount of solid waste, which flows into the Atlantic ocean, which can affect regional climate,” concluded study author Victor Baker.