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Ariadne Katsouras

First Name: Ariadne
Surname: Katsouras
Department Dept of Accounting and Corporate Governance
Supervisor(s): ,

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Paper Title

The Environmental Impacts of Hydroelectric Dams in the Amazon


An increasing number of nations are building greater numbers of large dams in the belief that they will improve living standards. Decision-making regarding construction of these large dams is mainly based on cost-benefit analysis. However all the impacts are often not included in this type of analysis, especially the environmental impacts. This is due to the fact that environmental factors are hard to identify and quantify and are interrelated. This study aims to identify the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam in the Brazilian Amazon using a method called systems analysis, which accounts for the interrelatedness of environmental factors. It is hoped that this method will prove to be more effective in identifying environmental impacts so that they can more fully be accounted for by CBA and thus make it a more effective tool for decision-making relating to dam construction


To determine the environmental impacts of a dam so that decisions regarding dam construction can more fully take these impacts into account. Currently environmental impacts are not accounted for fully.

Key literature/theoretical perspective

World Commission on Dams (2000) found that there were many negative environmental and social impacts of dams and that many did not often perform to capacity and cost more than projected.
Goldsmith and Hildyard (1984) Study that first discussed negative environmental impacts of dams.

Systems analysis is used in biological and ecological sciences and ecological economics. It is based on the idea that the economy is a sub-system of the environment, where in traditional environmental economics, the environment is often seen as a sub-system of the economy.


Will use systems analysis to determine environmental impacts of dams. Systems analysis is useful in modelling habitats and ecosystems as it can incorporate the dynamic and interrelated nature of natural systems.


Not applicable

Research limitations/implications

Will allow policymakers to have more complete information regarding costs and benefits when deciding on a dam’s construction.


Hydroelectric dams, systems analysis, environmental impacts, Amazon