Water balance in a neotropical forest catchment of southeastern Brazil

Carlos R. Mello, Léo F. Ávila, Henry Lin, Marcela C.N.S. Terra, Nick A. Chappell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Brazilian Atlantic Forest is recognized by the UNESCO as one of the most important biosphere reserves on the planet but is threatened by extinction. The objective of this study was to analyze the main components of the water balance in an Atlantic Forest (Neotropical Forest) catchment in the Mantiqueira Range, Brazil, which is a Tropical Montane Cloud Forest. The main focuses was to analyze baseflow, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and canopy rainfall interception to understand the hydrologic dynamics in this specially important montane forest. On average from the two studied hydrological years (2009/2010 and 2010/2011), evapotranspiration (ET), streamflow (SF), and water storage in the catchment at the end of hydrological year corresponded, respectively, to 50%, 34.8% and 15.2% of total gross precipitation (P). On average, baseflow corresponded to 73.5% of SF. The estimated potential groundwater recharge during the wet seasons was 403.8 mm (21.7% of P observed in the wet season) and 710.5 mm (28.5% of P observed in the wet season), respectively, for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 hydrological years, showing that the catchment is able to store groundwater to provide the maintenance of the streamflow during early recessions and drought periods. Therefore, the baseflow is important in mountainous catchments in the tropical regions to provide important ecological functions, mainly as freshwater reserve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Feb 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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