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How does deforestation affect the hydrosphere?

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Quick Answer

Deforestation reduces the recycling of water from land to the atmosphere and back by up to 75 percent. The hydrosphere consists of all the various forms of water on the Earth, and deforestation radically alters the Earth's water content by reducing evaporation and soil moisture.

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Deforestation influences the hydrosphere by increasing flooding. When timber disappears from a forested area, flooding increases because of the diminished number of obstacles to the water. This has implications for water quality and the stability of the soil. Flooding alters the course of rivers and other bodies of water. The impact of the changes to the hydrosphere on climatic patterns also remains under study.

In the Amazon rain forest, 75 percent of water that lands as rain transpires right back into the atmosphere or evaporates, falling once again in the form of rain. In the rain forest, one acre sends about 76,000 liters of water back into the atmosphere to create clouds, which precipitate and form rain once again. It is this recycling that gives the rain forest its high water characteristics. Deforestation in the rain forest disrupts this cycle considerably. Soils dry up, less water returns to the atmosphere and rain falls less significantly.

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