Effects of deforestation on spatio-temporal runoff patterns in the upper Teles Pires watershed, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Peter Zeilhofer, Leonardo Hallak Alcantara, Ibraim Fantin-Cruz


This study is an exploratory, spatio-temporal analysis of river discharge in the upper Teles Pires contribution area for the period between 1993 and 2006, and its relationship with deforestation dynamics on a watershed scale. After an evaluation of temporal variability of monthly rainfall and runoff time series, generalized linear models (GLM) have been fitted to examine the relationships between discharge with indicators of deforestation in the contribution area of six sub-watersheds. Monthly discharges at the main outlet show a significant positive trend, whereas increase of precipitation has no statistical significance. Besides precipitation, principal determinant of specific discharge, deforestation percentages and the annual relative rates of deforestation are significant predictors in the three smaller sub-basins with areas up to about 14.000 km2. In the most altered sub-basin under intensive agricultural use, the ratio of residence and hydrological response have positive correlations with deforestation indicators, evidencing the removal of arborous formations diminish evapotranspiration and favor discharge. With increasing contribution areas up to about 54,000 km2, the interference of deforestation on discharge and hydrological parameters decrease and precipitation remains the unique significant predictor.


Discharge, hydrological parameters, land use, watershed scale

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26848/rbgf.v11.5.p1889-1901

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Revista Brasileira de Geografia Física - ISSN: 1984-2295

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