River science and management issues in Chile: Hydropower development and native fish communities

Habit, E; Garcia, A; Diaz, G; Arriagada, P; Link, O; Parra, O; Thoms, M

Keywords: fragmentation, endemic fish communities, hydrological modifications, large river ecosystems


The magnitude of hydropower developments in emerging regions threatens the sustainability of their riverine landscapes. Fragmentation of river networks by multiple barriers and the imposition of new hydrological regimes influences the ability of these river ecosystems to absorb and adapt to these developments and other stressors. Direct transfer of paradigms built from a restricted geographical base to a global context is fraught with issues because of regional differences in eco-hydro-geomorphology, biological communities, and nonlinear interactions between the two. In this manuscript, some impacts of hydropower development on Chilean riverine ecosystems are presented. To understand the context of hydropower, we provide the political context of energy development in Chile. Interactions between hydropower generation and Chilean river ecosystems with special reference to native Chilean fish fauna are outlined. Three case studies are presented that considers: (a) habitat alteration downstream of the Rucue Dam, (b) the effects of daily hydropeaking in the Biobio River, and (c) mitigation strategies to reduce habitat alteration upstream of the San Pedro Dam. These case studies illustrate the expanding scientific knowledge on Chilean riverine landscapes. Finally, new measures to reduce ecosystem impacts of hydropower development on native Chilean fish communities are outlined. Although specific scientific information is available, developing regional ecohydrological models and improving knowledge of ecosystem and sustainability science is required. The scientific approach on which solutions are sought to address present and future river ecosystem problems in Chile are inherently interdisciplinary nature.

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Título según WOS: River science and management issues in Chile: Hydropower development and native fish communities
Volumen: 35
Número: 5
Editorial: Wiley
Fecha de publicación: 2019
Página de inicio: 489
Página final: 499
Idioma: English


Notas: ISI