In the last twenty years, multiple large and small hydroelectric dams have begun to transform the Amazonian region, spawning a growing volume of academic research across diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields. In this article, we offer a critical review of recent research related to hydropower and sustainability with a focus on the Brazilian Amazon. We revisit the
sustainability concept to include the contribution of various knowledge fields and perspectives for understanding, managing and making decisions about social-ecological systems
transformed by dams. We conducted a literature review in Web of Science of academic publications centered in the past 5 years (2014–2019), on diverse aspects of hydropower planning, construction, operation and monitoring in the Brazilian Amazon. We present results of a co-occurrence network analysis of publications, highlighting bridging fields, network
disconnections, and opportunities for interdisciplinary research. Finally, we report recent advances in the understanding and management of social-ecological systems in Amazonian
watersheds, including biophysical, socio-economic, governance and development processes linked to hydropower planning and implementation. This review identifies knowledge gaps and
future research directions, highlighting opportunities for improved communication among scientists, practitioners, decision-makers, indigenous peoples and local communities.