Evaluation of the environmental quality monitoring protocol for Amazonian streams: a systematic review

  • Roberta Maués-Silva Departamento de Controle de endemias. Secretaria de Estado da Saúde do Pará (SESPa), Travessa Lomas Valentinas, n° 2190, CEP: 66095-770, Belém, PA, Brazil.
  • José Max Barbosa Oliveira-Junior Instituto de Ciências e Tecnologia das Águas. Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará (UFOPA), Avenida Vera Paz, s/n, CEP: 68040-255, Santarém, PA, Brazil.
  • Gabriel Martins da Cruz Instituto de Ciências Biológicas. Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA), Rua Augusto Corrêa, n° 1, CEP: 66075-110, Belém, PA, Brazil.
  • Leandro Schlemmer Brasil Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde. Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Avenida Universitária, n° 3500, CEP: 78698-000, Pontal do Araguaia, MT, Brazil.


The Amazon Rainforest is renowned for its extraordinary biodiversity and the ravages of pervasive deforestation. The removal of natural vegetation significantly affects Amazonian streams, leading to alterations in their environmental conditions. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has devised a comprehensive protocol to monitor changes in the environmental quality of streams. Since 2011, the Sustainable Amazon Network has implemented this protocol in Amazonian streams. Our systematic review aimed to address the following questions: i) How widely has the protocol been employed in Amazonian streams?; ii) Is the utilization of this protocol well-distributed across the Amazon Basin?; iii) Which types of land use have been assessed using this protocol?; iv) Which components of the aquatic biota have been studied in conjunction with the protocol?; and, v) Which metrics of the protocol are most crucial for elucidating aquatic biota distribution? We conducted searches using the Web of Science and Google Scholar databases, identifying 34 studies that directly aligned with our objectives. It was observed that the Eastern Amazon had the highest number of streams evaluated. Additionally, aquatic insects emerged as an effective tool when utilized alongside the protocol for evaluating the impacts of changes in land use. Ultimately, the most important metrics for assessing impacts on aquatic biota were shelter availability in the channels, the preservation status of riparian forests, and water quality. We recommend developing a simplified version of this protocol to facilitate its application for research teams with limited personnel and financial resources available for fieldwork.

Keywords: aquatic conservation, biomonitoring, land use change, sampling efficiency, stream ecology.