Conservation works: Forests for water in eastern AmazoniaMarch 20, 2015
Brazil's 'arc of deforestation' accounted for 85% of all Amazon deforestation from 1996 to 2005. Although deforestation rates have dropped considerably since 2005, the forests of the southeastern Amazon remain vulnerable to expanding development, which affects the amount of water cycled through the climate system in the region and exacerbates the effects of climate change. A new study published in the Journal of Hydrology led by WHRC scientist Prajjwal Panday found that large protected areas in the Xingu River Basin have helped shield this Amazonian watershed from the effects observed in its less-protected neighbor, the Araguaia-Tocantins.
The headwaters of the Xingu River are found in the savanna region of Mato Grosso state, the river flows northward through the rainforest before reaching the Amazon River at the city of Altamira. The Xingu watershed covers over 300,000 square miles, over half of which is protected as indigenous lands or nature reserves. The Mato Grosso portion of the basin is under the greatest threat from deforestation due to expanding agricultural activities.
"Our results show where deforestation has occurred the water cycle has been greatly altered, but that the protected areas have affectively limited the negative impacts of expanding agriculture to the southern portion of the basin," notes Panday.
In order to isolate the effects of deforestation on the Xingu Basin water balance from the effects of natural climate variation, the team of scientists combined fieldwork, satellite data, and dynamic vegetation models to simulate the water budget. The measurements included changes in the discharge of the Xingu at its confluence with the Amazon River, and satellite measurements of water recycling to the atmosphere and water stored in soils. The team found that changes from deforestation have been small so far, with slightly less recycling of water to the atmosphere and more flowing through soils to the river. Interestingly, climate variations over this same period had the opposite effect on water recycling, soil moisture, and stream flow.
However, this paper suggests that expanding deforestation combined with climate change could have catastrophic consequences to water recycling in the Xingu Basin. "This study shows just how important forests are in regulating river flows. Recent reports of a 60% increase in Brazil's deforestation rates make it clear that we need to redouble our efforts to keep forests standing." notes study coauthor Marcia Macedo.
According to Dr. Michael Coe, "The bottom line is that protected areas work. By limiting agriculture to a relatively small fraction of the entire watershed, major changes in the water cycle have been avoided - other watersheds have not been so well protected and are suffering as a result. This is extremely important for Xingu indigenous people, biodiversity, and hydroelectric power generation by the Belo Monte dam at Alta Mira."
Woods Hole Research Center
Related Climate Change Articles:
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.
Related Climate Change Reading:
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)
Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change "represents a clear and present danger to civilization." In June 2015, the Pope declared that action on climate change is a moral issue.
This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions.... View Details
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein (Author)
The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.
In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.
In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and... View Details
A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
by Jeffrey Bennett (Author)
2017 NSTA, Outstanding Science Trade Books
2017 Children's Book Council, Best STEM Books
Nautilus Book Award, Silver, Ecology and Environment
Is human-induced global warming a real threat to our future? Most people will express an opinion on this question, but relatively few can back their opinions with solid evidence. Many times we’ve even heard pundits say “I am not a scientist” to avoid the issue altogether. But the truth is, the basic science is not that difficult. Using a question and answer format, this book will help readers achieve three major... View Details
Climate Change: The Facts 2017
by Jennifer Marohasy (Editor)
Climate Change: The Facts 2017 contains 22 essays by internationally-renowned experts and commentators, including Dr Bjorn Lomborg, Dr Matt Ridley, Professor Peter Ridd, Dr Willie Soon, Dr Ian Plimer, Dr Roy Spencer, and literary giant Clive James. The volume is edited by Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. Fourteen of the contributors currently hold or have held positions at a university or a scientific research organisation.
Dr Jennifer Marohasy said, "Climate Change: The Facts 2017 presents the case for climate change policies... View Details
The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change
by Robert Henson (Author)
Everybody can be a thinking person when it comes to climate change, and this book is a perfect roadmap. Start a web search for “climate change” and the first three suggestions are “facts,” “news,” and “hoax.” The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change is rooted in the first, up to date on the second, and anything but the last. Produced by one of the most venerable atmospheric science organizations, it is a must-read for anyone looking for the full story on climate change.
Using global research and written with nonscientists in mind, the Guide... View Details
How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate
by Andrew J. Hoffman (Author)
Though the scientific community largely agrees that climate change is underway, debates about this issue remain fiercely polarized. These conversations have become a rhetorical contest, one where opposing sides try to achieve victory through playing on fear, distrust, and intolerance. At its heart, this split no longer concerns carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, or climate modeling; rather, it is the product of contrasting, deeply entrenched worldviews. This brief examines what causes people to reject or accept the scientific consensus on climate change. Synthesizing evidence from sociology,... View Details
Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Mark Maslin (Author)
Climate change is still, arguably, the most critical and controversial issue facing the world in the twenty-first century. Previously published as Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction, the new edition has been renamed Climate Change: A Very Short introduction, to reflect the important change in the terminology of the last decade.
In the third edition, Mark Maslin includes crucial updates from the last few years, including the results of the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the effects of ocean acidification, and the impact of changes to global population and... View Details
Dire Predictions, 2nd Edition: Understanding Climate Change
by Michael E. Mann (Author), Lee R. Kump (Author)
Explore global warming with graphics, illustrations, and charts that separate climate change fact from fiction, presenting the truth about global warming in a way that's both accurate and easy to understand. Respected climate scientists Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump address important questions about global warming and climate change, diving into the information documented by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and breaking it down into clear graphics that explain complex climate questions in simple illustrations that present the truth of the global warming problem clearly.... View Details
Climate Change: The Facts
by J.Abbot (Author), J.S. Armstrong (Author), A.Bolt (Author), R.Carter (Author), R.Darwall (Author), J.Delingpole (Author), C.Essex (Author), S.Franks (Author), K.Green (Author), D.Laframboise (Author), N.Lawson (Author), B.Lewin (Author), R.Lindzen (Author), J.Marohasy (Author), R.McKitrick (Author), P.Michaels (Author), A.Moran (Author), J.Nova (Author), G.Paltridge (Author), I.Plimer (Author), W.Soon (Author), M.Steyn (Author), A.Watts (Author), Alan Moran (Editor)
Tirelessly promoted by princes, presidents, actors and activists, "climate change" has become a dominant theme of global politics. But what's really going on as the "pause" in global warming prepares to enter its third decade? In this new anthology, leading scientists and commentators from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia consider the climate from every angle - the science, the policy and the politics. View Details
The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change
by Gleb Raygorodetsky (Author)
An enlightening global journey reveals the inextricable links between Indigenous cultures and their lands―and how it can form the foundation for climate change resilience around the world.
One cannot turn on the news today without a report on an extreme weather event or the latest update on Antarctica. But while our politicians argue, the truth is that climate change is already here. Nobody knows this better than Indigenous peoples who, having developed an intimate relationship with ecosystems over generations, have observed these changes for decades. For them,... View Details