Impacts of Agricultural Expansion on Surface Runoff: A Case Study of a River Basin in the Brazilian Legal Amazon

  • Maeda, E. E., Formaggio, A. R., Shimabuk L


This work presents an analysis of the Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) changes of a region in the Brazilian Legal Amazon, and an evaluation of their impacts on the surface runoff regime. This case study took place at the Suiá-Miçu River basin, located in the northeast region of Mato Grosso State. LULC maps were produced for the years 1973, 1984 and 2005 using remote sensing data. After analyzing the agricultural expansion in the study area, the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment Tool (AGWA) was applied in performing the surface runoff modeling for each of the analyzed years using the SCS curve number method. The results showed that by 1984, 13% of the natural vegetation had been replaced by pasture in this drainage basin. These changes were responsible for a 5.7% increase in the annual average surface runoff volume when compared with the baseline values of 1973. In 2005, the agricultural areas increased to around 40% of the drainage basin, being 28% occupied by pasture and 12% by crop fields. In this last scenario, the annual average surface runoff was 37% higher than in 1973.