An interdisciplinary team of North-American and Brazilian researchers, with the support of distinguished members of our scientific advisory committee, will collaborate in defining transversal and site-specific research themes and projects, in which researchers and students from three Amazonian universities—Rondônia Federal University, Tocantins Federal University, and Mato Grosso State University—along with University of Florida personnel, will work collaboratively to enhance learning and integrated data collection, analysis, and preparation of graduate theses and dissertations, as well as publications for peer reviewed journals.

This coordinated research and education effort will benefit the advancement of scientific scholarship, the enhancement of graduate education in the Brazilian Amazon and in the US, and policy development. We foresee advancement of theories and methods in the areas of systems ecology, fish ecology and fisheries management, climate change, social-ecological resilience, displacement and place making, media analysis and social networks and mobilization.

Objectives

  • Develop an integrative research program to advance the understanding of the combined benefits and negative effects of dams on socio-ecological systems, bridging disciplines, institutions, and stakeholders across three watersheds in the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Foster dialogue and information flow among a diverse array of stakeholders, informing decision making and strategic planning for dam implementation in the Amazon and elsewhere.
  • Develop a theoretical and methodological framework combining integrative themes to assess the positive and negative effects of dams, which can be used for planning of water and energy production and consumption in national and international contexts.

Some broad overarching questions

  • To what extent is it possible to predict future impacts, costs and benefits of dam implementation based on past experiences?
  • How might the processes of planning and construction of dams be compared in terms of social-ecological effects in different water basins?
  • What can we learn from processes of dam construction in the Amazon? How does the process of social learning relating to dam construction take place among different stakeholders?
  • How might we use past experiences to enhance current and future public policies?
  • Are the current technical and political instruments used to manage impacts adequate to reflect synergetic or aggregated impacts of dam implementation?

Ongoing activities

  • Organizing a scientific report of the Amazon Dams Program symposium at UF;
  • Strengthening of Brazilian universities’ teams and institutional support for the Program;
  • Establishing formal agreements among UF, CAPES, and Brazilian Universities to enhance international cooperation among these institutions;
  • Preparing collaborative publications;
  • Fund-raising activities, through grant writing.