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Large hydroelectric plants and small hydroelectric plants in the Amazon Region: comparison of cumulative and synergistic impacts

Grant number: 20/07372-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2021
Effective date (End): March 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Evandro Mateus Moretto
Grantee:Silvia Sayuri Mandai
Home Institution: Instituto de Energia e Ambiente (IEE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/17113-9 - After hydropower dams: social and environmental processes that occur after the construction of Belo Monte, Jirau and Santo Antônio in Brazilian Amazon, AP.SPEC

Abstract

The amount of Small Hydroelectric Plants (SHPs) is increasing in several regions, including the Rondônia state, triggered by economic policies and incentives. In this context, there is a common sense that SHPs have less negative environmental impacts than Large Hydroelectric Plants (LHPs), however, this statement has been questioned. Despite the long history of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon region, their effects are still underestimated in planning and decision making. Thus, the study asks whether the cumulative and synergistic effects of a set of SHPs are greater than those of LHPs. The goal is to compare the land use and land cover change of small properties downstream from rivers with LHPs and SHPs in cascade in the state of Rondônia, considering the cumulative and synergistic impacts in the operation phase. Then, 14 SHPs in three cascades (sub-basins Guaporé, Jamari, and Machado) and four LHPs (rivers Madeira, Jamari, and Celebration) will be considered. The project will use data from the Register of Rural Properties and remote sensing methods from MapBiomas, based on agricultural and vegetation classes from this platform and from IBGE. Moreover, the data will be validated and detailed in the field. The LuccME modeling will be used to analyze changes in land use and land cover in small properties. Based on the trajectories for each LHP and SHP, the cumulative and synergistic trajectories will be elaborated after the period of operation compared to the scenarios without the enterprise. Changes in the flow regimes and water quality of rivers will also be analyzed with changes in the flow downstream. The SHPs and UHEs will be compared based on each Km² of the hydrographic unit.

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