Simulation of stream flow and hydrological response to land-cover changes in a tropical river basin Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Elsevier B.V. Land cover of river basins has undergone multiple modifications and conversions as a result of various pressures on ecosystems. This study calibrates and validates the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for determining the hydrological response to land-cover changes in the Lower-Middle So Francisco River sub-basin (LMSFR), Brazil. The SWAT model was calibrated with 19931994 data from hydrological station at Juazeiro, while data from the 19952004 period were used for validation. We analyzed three scenarios of land cover which were compared to current landscape (pasture land): scenario I (pasture land is replaced by natural vegetation), scenario II (pasture land is replaced by maize crop cultivation), and scenario III (pasture land is replaced by bare soil). Calibration of the SWAT model in the LMSFR produced good results, as all evaluation indices reached satisfactory values in both calibration and validation periods for Juazeiro and validation period at Floresta. However, the calibrated model, when applied to Abreus, did not accurately simulate monthly stream flow (where r2 = 0.51 and NE = 0.26). Scenario III had the greatest impact and influence on the sediment yield, which corresponded to an increase of 93.7% in comparison to the current land cover. This study identified regions where reforestation should be urgently carried out in the north part and extreme south of the sub-basin due to the overall level of land degradation.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Rodrigues da Silva, V., Silva, M. T., Singh, V. P., de Souza, E. P., Braga, C. C., de Holanda, R. M., ... Rodrigues Braga, A. C.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Rodrigues da Silva, Vicente de Paulo||Silva, Madson Tavares||Singh, Vijay P||de Souza, Enio Pereira||Braga, Celia Campos||de Holanda, Romildo Morant||Almeida, Rafaela Silveira R||Salviano de Sousa, Francisco de Assis||Rodrigues Braga, Armando Cesar

publication date

  • March 2018

published in