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What is a bad flood? Local perspectives of extreme floods in the Peruvian Amazon

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ARTICLE DOWNLOAD

What is a bad flood? Local perspectives of extreme floods in the Peruvian Amazon

10$

Jennifer C. Langill & Christian Abizaid 

Abstract

The annual flood cycle is integral to rural life and livelihoods in riparian Amazonia. Livelihoods are built around the flood cycle, which facilitates transportation and affects soil fertility and fish migrations. Flood extremes, however, can have devastating impacts for riverine populations, yet there is minimal understanding of what distinguishes a ‘normal’ flood from a ‘bad’ flood, or flooding as integral to riverine settlement from flooding as environmental hazard. We address this limitation by drawing upon hydrograph data and field data collected in a riverine village in the Peruvian Amazon. We define four extreme flood types based on height, duration, and timing of onset, and illustrate how they each create a unique combination of negative and positive implications. We discuss the integral role of fishing to floodplain livelihoods during the flood season, and the implications of flood extremes for health, safety, and food provision. The article proposes a more nuanced conceptualization of flooding in riverine Amazonia to better inform policies and practices aimed at supporting local populations during extreme floods.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s13280-019-01278-8