Our academic staff pursue research as part of the UCL-Birkbeck Research School of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Our team of dedicated staff and technicians also provide excellent support for our students. Our Doctoral Programme is an integral part of our research culture find out more about our PhD Students.
"Using remote sensing, GIS and modelling tools, I will assess the impacts of the proposed Cachuela Esperanza mega-dam and reservoir on Amazonian forest, water resources and carbon budgets."
PhD project title:
Environmental impacts and risks to natural resources from mega-dams in the Amazon basin: the proposed Cachuela Esperanza dam, northeast Bolivia
The research I commenced in October 2013 will first examine the environmental, social and economic impacts existing mega-dams and their associated infrastructures have already had in various parts of the world, especially in tropical environments. This information will then be used to set the context of the potential impacts of the Cachuela Esperanza mega-dam proposed on the Rio Beni in Cachuela Esperanza, in northeast Bolivia near the Brazilian border. Through field data, remote sensing, GIS and modelling tools, I will assess some of these potential impacts, such as changes to land-use, land-cover and hydrology. This information will feed into estimates of changes in carbon, water and sediment budgets.
As the dam is not expected to be operational until 2020, this research will develop baselines and scenarios against which risks can be analysed, thus providing the foundation for longitudinal studies over the lifetime and beyond of this specific dam. Since there are plans for over a hundred large dams in the Amazon basin, this research will also inform decision-makers on the impacts of mega-projects in Amazonia.
I am funded through a UCL Impact PhD Studentship with the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, and I will work with them and their Bolivian partner Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado. My supervisors are Dr Stephen Edwards (Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre) and Prof. Mark Maslin (Geography).