Mapping research on hydropower and sustainability in the Brazilian Amazon: advances, gaps in knowledge and future directions

Simone Athayde, M. Mathews, Stephanie Bohlman, Walterlina Brasil, Carolina RC Doria, Jynessa Dutka-Gianelli, Philip M. Fearnside, B. Loiselle, Elineide E. Marques, Theodore S. Melis, B. Millikan, Evandro M. Moretto, Anthony Oliver-Smith, Amintas Rossete, Raffaele Vacca, D. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In the last twenty years, multiple large and small hydroelectric dams have begun to transform the Amazonian region, spawning a growing volume of academic research across diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields. In this article, we offer a critical review of recent research related to hydropower and sustainability with a focus on the Brazilian Amazon. We revisit the sustainability concept to include the contribution of various knowledge fields and perspectives for understanding, managing and making decisions about social-ecological systems transformed by dams. We conducted a literature review in Web of Science of academic publications centered in the past 5 years (2014–2019), on diverse aspects of hydropower planning, construction, operation and monitoring in the Brazilian Amazon. We present results of a co-occurrence network analysis of publications, highlighting bridging fields, network disconnections, and opportunities for interdisciplinary research. Finally, we report recent advances in the understanding and management of social-ecological systems in Amazonian watersheds, including biophysical, socio-economic, governance and development processes linked to hydropower planning and implementation. This review identifies knowledge gaps and future research directions, highlighting opportunities for improved communication among scientists, practitioners, decision-makers, indigenous peoples and local communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-69
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping research on hydropower and sustainability in the Brazilian Amazon: advances, gaps in knowledge and future directions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this