The Amazon basin could suffer significant and irreversible damage if an extensive dam building programme goes ahead, scientists say.
Currently, 428 hydroelectric dams are planned, with 140 already built or under construction.
Researchers warn that this could affect the dynamics of the complex river system and put thousands of unique species at risk.
The study is published in the journal Nature.
“The world is going to lose the most diverse wetland on the planet,” said lead author Prof Edgargo Latrubesse, from the University of Texas at Austin, US.
The Amazon basin covers more than 6.1 million sq km, and is the largest and most complex river system on the planet.
It has become a key area for hydroelectric dam construction.
But this study suggests that the push for renewable energy along the Amazon’s waterways could lead to profound problems.
The international team of researchers who carried out the research is particularly concerned …