Conventional wisdom suggests deforestation can increase the energy-generating potential of dams by eliminating vegetation that would otherwise draw water out of the ground. By studying the Xingu River in South America, researchers have determined deforestation in the river's basin would increase its flow of water. But the team, which included geographer Claudia Stickler and her colleagues, also found deforestation in the Amazon watershed as a whole would have the opposite effect, inhibiting rainstorms and potentially decreasing the Xingu's flow by as much as 36% by 2050.

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