Resource Details

Management of sedimentation in tropical watersheds

Literature: Journal Articles

Nagle, Gregory N., Timothy J. Fahey, and James P. Lassoie. 1999. "Management of sedimentation in tropical watersheds" Environmental Management vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 441-452.


U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Aquatic/Lands Interaction Program, 3200 Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon 97330, USA

Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA


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  • This paper reviews the management of sedimentation in reservoirs across the tropics.  
  • Authors note that a lot of erosion in the tropics is natural (geological), so land use doesn't always make a significant difference.  
  • Sedimentation of reservoirs is very important because the tropics relies heavily on hydropower (and because erosion and sedimentation is high). Fine sediment will travel downstream to the dead storage area of the reservoir, but bed load (larger sediment) will settle sooner (in the inlet of the reservoir) and use up live storage area (and reduce hydropower potential.  
  • Human land use most likely only explains a small part of the sedimentation in reservoirs (<10%) while natural landslides and dam construction contribute the highest amounts (roads and villages might be a high amount as well).  
  • Reforestation and soil conservation benefits will likely only have an effect in the long term (as far as watershed sedimentation).
  • Authors note that reforestation projects should be realistic that they may not have an immediate or significant impact on reducing sedimentation. 

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