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Office location: Rm 38, 2nd floor, South Wing, UCL Main Quadrangle
Environmental impacts and risks to natural resources from mega-dams in the Amazon basin: the proposed Cachuela Esperanza dam, northeast Bolivia
Dr Stephen Edwards (ABUHRC, IRDR, Earth Sciences)
Prof. Mark Maslin (UCL Geography)
Source(s) of funding:
UCL Impact PhD Studentship with the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
020 7679 2379
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 (Earth Sciences) and Prof. Mark Maslin (Geography).