Case study: Human factors that influence drainage basin system

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  • Deforestation: Amazonia
    • Sheer scale = severe environmental impacts
      • Amazon contains 60% of world's rainforests
    • 20% of forest destroyed in 50 years
      • Cattle raching
      • commercial agriculture of biofuels and soya beans
      • urbanisation and infrastructure
    • Trees act like green lungs by removing CO2
      • Destruction reduces this capacity therefore contributing to green house emissions
        • Especially in times of drought
    • Impact on the water cycle
      • Rainforest - 75% of intercepted water is returned to the atmosphere by EVT
        • When forest is cleared this becomes 25%
          • This leads to a drier climate overall = desiccation and further degradation
          • More water runs off into the Amazon drainage system = flooding and mudslides
          • Less water infiltrates through the ground = aquifer depletion
            • Increased overland flow leads to more soil erosion
        • ENSO leads to significant drought in Amazonia = Forest fires


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