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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.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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