Modeling the Ecological and Economic Loss Imposed by the Three Gorges Dam

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Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Ernest Diedrich, Economics


The Three Gorges Dam is one of the world's largest dams with tremendous ecological and economic impact. Theoretically, to ensure minimal damage that the dam imposes, all possible effects of the dam should be fully understood before the construction of the dam. However, although the economic benefit and hydraulic studies of the dam are abundant, there is very little explanation of the ecological consequence. Hence, the dam lacks ecological evidence, and its possible ecological damages are unknown. To examine the ecological damage of the dam, the general adaptive cycle by C.S. Holling is used as a basis of the ecosystem surrounding the dam, and simulations are done to estimate the dam's ecological impacts. Then, the economic loss of the dam is discussed based on the possible environmental wealth loss caused by the dam. The dam may bring catastrophic ecological consequence to its surrounding ecosystems, and thus causes economic loss.