By Russell S. Harmon
This booklet examines the most very important and complicated of the world's tropical rainforest areas: the higher Panama Canal Watershed. The Rio Chagres is the first water resource for working the Canal, and offers potable water for municipal use and electrical energy new release, yet technological know-how has left this crucial nationwide source mostly unstudied. The textual content promotes figuring out of the actual and ecological elements of an remoted and mostly pristine tropical rainforest.
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Extra info for The Rio Chagres, Panama: A Multidisciplinary Profile of a Tropical Watershed (Water Science and Technology Library)
Smaller dams for operational water supply were also built at the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores lock sites and, subsequently a large dam was constructed across the upper Rio Chagres to create Lago Alhajuela (Fig. 2). Atlantic Ocean Panama Canal Watershed P M A A N A N Panama Canal Gulf of Panama Pacific Ocean Figure 1. Topographic map of Panama sowing the location of the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Watershed (modified from ACP, 2005) With 38 ships making the ocean-to-ocean transit each day, the Panama Canal is an important contributor to the global economy as canal fees and related activities generate some 10% of the GDP of Panama (Cullen, 2005).
Construction of the Panama Railroad (1850-1855) ended the three hundred year reign of the dugout canoe as the main means of moving cargo and passengers across Panama (source: Harpers Monthly Magazine, 1858). This paper summarizes important findings of the Panama Canal Watershed Natural Resources Monitoring Project, better known for it’s Spanish acronym PMCC (Proyecto de Monitoreo de la Cuenca del Canal). This survey is perhaps the most ambitious applied research project led by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).
In the second half of the 19th century, the population of the area grew substantially; first, due to the construction of the inter-oceanic railroad from 1850-1855 following the discovery of gold in California and then the French effort to build a sea-level canal across Panama from 1880-1890 (Figs. 1 and 2). This period of major engineering projects, gave rise to new types of settlements - train stations along the rail line (see Figure 3 of Harmon, 2005a, Chapter 2) and the work camps along the axis of the canal works.
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