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Relative change in river flow (unitless ratio of ?Q/Q) due to hypothetical, ‘worst-case’ future scenario for forest conversion to agriculture.

Map description and dataset provided by: Water Systems Analysis Group, Complex System Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, USA

DescriptionFuture Change In Discharge due to Deforestation (rel.)

This map shows gridded fields of the relative change in river discharge representing the ratio of the change in river discharge (?Q) due to hypothetical future forest conversion to agriculture divided by contemporary Q from Douglas et al. (2005). This dataset compares river discharge (Q) generated from the contemporary landcover with river discharge generated from a hypothetical, ‘worst-case’ future deforestation scenario.

Interpretation

The hypothetical future forest conversion scenario was designed as a ‘worst-case’ land cover change experiment that explored deforestation in the most vulnerable tracts of remaining forest and measure what effects this conversion could have on biodiversity, hydrological function and ultimately, on downstream human populations. The conversion of the most vulnerable remaining forests in the hypothetical deforestation scenario would result in an additional loss of about 25% of contemporary tropical forests leaving just 9 million of the original 29 million km2 tropical forests intact. Increased annual water yield from the conversion of threatened tropical forests would be less than 5% of contemporary yield but would impact about 100 million people living directly within and approximately 80 million living downstream of the highest impacted areas. Applying a threshold of a 25% increase in average annual discharge for delineating “hydrologic hotspots”, about 100 million people could be vulnerable to the hydrologic effects of our hypothetical future tropical forest conversion in the pan-tropics. Approximately 80 million of these people live on floodplains affected by these hotspots, which makes them particularly vulnerable to both immediate and long-term changes in the hydrologic regime.

Source

The dataset for this map was provided by: Charles J. Vörösmarty, Water Systems Analysis Group, Complex System Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, USA

Background

This dataset was developed for the World Water Development Report II, Indicators for the World Water Assessment Program (http://wwdrii.sr.unh.edu/index.html) and in support of analysis outlined in Douglas et al.; 2005.

Citation

Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 55: Future Change In Discharge due to Deforestation (rel.) (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

Contact Information

Charles J. Vörösmarty, Water Systems Analysis Group, Complex System Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH USA 03824, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , Phone: +01.603.862.0850, Fax: +01.603.8

 
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