Energy development reveals blind spots for ecosystem conservation in the Amazon Basin

Elizabeth P. Anderson, Tracey Osborne, Javier A. Maldonado-Ocampo, Megan Mills-Novoa, Leandro Castello, Mariana Montoya, Andrea C. Encalada, Clinton N. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Energy development – as manifested by the proliferation of hydroelectric dams and increased oil and gas exploration – is a driver of change in Amazonian ecosystems. However, prevailing approaches to Amazonian ecosystem conservation that focus on terrestrial protected areas and Indigenous territories do not offer sufficient insurance against the risks associated with energy development. Here, we explore three related areas of concern: the exclusion of subsurface rights on Indigenous lands; the absence of frameworks for freshwater ecosystem conservation; and downgrading, downsizing, degazettement (loss of protection), and reclassification of protected areas. We consider these issues from the perspectives of multiple countries across the Amazon Basin, and link them directly to energy development. Finally, we offer suggestions for addressing the challenges of energy development for Amazon ecosystem conservation through existing policies, new approaches, and international collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-529
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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