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Forest clearing and conversion to cattle pasture in the lowland Amazon region has been linked to soil compaction and increased soil water storage, which combine to diminish soil infiltration, enhance quick lateral flows and increase the stream flow response to precipitation. Quantifying the importance of quick surficial flow in response to this land use change requires identification of water sources within catchments that contribute to stream flow. Using an end member mixing analysis approach, potential contributing sources of stream flow were evaluated during an entire rainy season in a forest and a pasture watershed drained by ephemeral-to-intermittent streams in the south-western Amazon. Water yield was 17% of precipitation in the pasture and 0.8% of precipitation in the forest. During the early rainy season, throughfall, groundwater, and soil water contributed 79%, 18%, and 3%, respectively, to total forest stream flow. Over the entire rainy season, throughfall, groundwater, and shallow soil water provided 57%, 24%, and 19%, respectively, of stream flow. In the pasture watershed, overland flow dominated stream flow both in the early (67%) and late (57%) rainy season, with a mean contribution of 60% overland flow, 35% groundwater, and 5% soil water. The uncertainty associated with those estimates was studied using a Monte Carlo approach. In addition to large changes in total surface flow, marked differences were found in the proportions of total stream flow in the second half of the rainy season between the forest and pasture watershed. These results suggest that (1) there is great potential for alteration of the hydrological budgets of larger watersheds as the proportion of deforested land in the Amazon increases, and (2) as more rainfall is diverted into fast flowpaths to streams in established pastures, the potential to deliver water with higher solute concentrations generated by erosion or by bypassing sites of solute removal increases. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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