Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
particular case and how disparate knowledge systems can be brought to bear on a complex
The IDAM is based on the work of the World Commission on Environment and Devel-
opment, which recommended that sustainable-development projects balance the needs of
biophysical, socioeconomic, and geopolitical systems. Using this idea as a foundation, our
research team designed the IDAM to evaluate the outcomes of dam construction on three
key systems:
Biophysical Impacts : How does a given dam project affect the environmental aspects of a river ecosystem?
Socioeconomic Impacts : How does a given dam project affect human communities, economies, and cultures?
Geopolitical Impacts : How does a given dam project affect natural-resource decision making, governance, and in-
terstate relations?
The model works by analyzing twenty-one different impacts, seven from each of the
three systems (see tables 5.2 , 5.3 , and 5.4 , respectively). Each impact is scored on two di-
mensions: magnitude , which is the objective measure of the severity of that impact on a
0-3 scale; and salience , which is the subjective importance or significance assigned to the
impact, also on a 0-3 scale, by whatever group of stakeholders is using the model. Com-
puter scientists on the team constructed a graphical user interface that allows users to input
data for a given scenario and to compare different projects based on size, location, or other
TABLE 5.2 Biophysical Impacts Measured by the Integrative Dam Assessment Model
Reservoir may change cycling of nutrients and carbon, decrease turbidity and dissolved oxy-
gen, or change temperature.
BP1: Water Quality
BP2: Biodiversity
Habitat classification of affected areas, species occurrence, changes to hydraulic habitat.
BP3: Impact Area
Measurement of surface area of the reservoir and length of river impounded.
Reservoir may disrupt natural-sediment movement; downstream channel may degrade; depos-
itional features and channel morphology may change.
BP4: Sediment
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