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In recent years, concerns regarding the impacts of deforestation of riparian vegetation on water resources have created social and political tensions in Brazil. This research analyzed simulated hydrologic components of a 6.76 km2 headwater watershed with different widths of riparian vegetation. Lavrinha Watershed (LW) hydrological responses were simulated using the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM), which was forced using meteorological data from one station (2005-2010). Land cover scenarios where the percent land cover of Atlantic Forest was increased from the control resulted in changes in hydrologic components in the watershed due to increased evapotranspiration and rainfall interception and reduced runoff and overland flow. The base flow/runoff relationship has increased, suggesting that riparian vegetation plays an important role in groundwater recharge. Modeling of hydrologic components linked to riparian buffer scenarios, such as the process used in this study, can be a useful tool for decision-making strategies regarding watershed management.
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