Forests mitigate drought in an agricultural region of the Brazilian Amazon

Authors: Ye Mu*, San Diego State University, Trent Biggs, San Diego State University, Fernando De Sales, San Diego State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Water Resources and Hydrology, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: precipitation, moisture dynamics, amazon
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 40
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tropical deforestation has the potential to disrupt the hydrologic cycle and reduce rainfall, but the spatial distribution of moisture sources for key agricultural areas in the Amazon and the variability of sources during droughts have not been quantified. Using a precipitationshed moisture tracking framework, we examine the contribution of the forest, non-forest, and ocean sources of evaporation for rainfall in the state of Rondônia in the Brazilian Amazon. Forest sources account for approximately 48% of annual rainfall on average, and more than half of that forest source is from the protected forest. During droughts, moisture supply decreased from oceans and from non-forest, while supply from the forest was stable and compensated for the decrease. Rainfall in a key agricultural region of the Amazon is vulnerable to forest loss, as much of the moisture source is forest with varying levels of protection. Forests mitigate drought, providing an important ecosystem service that could be disrupted with further deforestation.

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