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Loss of native forest changes the biophysical dynamics of the water cycle: a brief review

International Journal of Hydrology
Jamerson Souza da Costa,1 Maria da Glória Gonçalves de Melo,2 Maria Astrid Rocha Liberato,2 Ligia Silveira Funch1

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This is a brief review of advances in understanding the forest-water relationship, particularly how the loss of native forests affects biophysical aspects of the water cycle. Initially, we address the participation of forests in the water cycle, especially in intracontinental systems, and how changes in land use and land cover can lead to water insecurity. Next, we present a synthesis of the advanced studies on the influence of evapotranspiration on the availability of water vapour to the atmosphere, and how diverse this process is in tropical ecosystems, which makes the possibility on inferences on an intercontinental and global scale complex. We also compiled information on the influence of the presence of native forests on atmospheric circulation and on the formation of condensation nuclei. Finally, we discuss some implications of forest fragmentation and what some studies point out, as well as considerations about the need to include biological aspects in the design and implementation of scientific models and institutional arrangements at local, regional, and transcontinental scales for understanding and maintenance of a resilient water cycle.


: forest loss, water cycle, native vegetation, evapotranspiration, moisture atmospheric, condensation