The role of biodiversity in the hydrological cycle: The case of the American Southwest

Maria A. Sans-Fuentes, Thomas Meixner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Human population growth and the associated economic activities have a major influence on the health and evolution of the natural environment. Humans have influenced natural environments in two ways: by reducing the extents of natural areas, and consequently their biodiversity, due to overexploitation of resources; and by creating protected areas where biodiversity is both regulated and conserved with a view to preserving the services provided to humans, or with the intent to repair previous damage. Throughout human history, the tendency to reduce the extents of natural habitats has dominated over the impulse to restoration and, consequently, humans are now facing a rapidly increasing rate of loss of biodiversity. This trend is aggravated by climate change, particularly in semi-arid areas such as the southwestern United States. Dryland ecosystems1 are particularly susceptible to climate variation and, in such regions, the (lack of) availability of water (surface water, groundwater and air moisture) acts as the main constraint on biological activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWater Bankruptcy in the Land of Plenty
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)9781498776998
ISBN (Print)9781138029699
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering


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