Scientists explain that rainforests, especially in the Amazon basin, Central Africa and Indonesia, are not only responsible for controlling the carbon cycle, but they also play a key role in the formation of rain clouds through evaporation.
Losing large areas of the rainforest leads to reducing rainfall and stream flow, the authors explain. The study predicts that by 2050 it is likely that as much as 40 percent of the hydropower generated by streams and rivers could be lost.
Projects that are currently running in developing countries, such as the Belo Monte project in Brazil, are likely to generate less than half of their overall energy capacity.
Dr Claudia M. Stickler and Daniel C. Nepstad, the authors of the study, who currently work at the Amazon Institute for Environmental Research in Brasilia, warn that if developing nations such as Brazil aim to produce hydropower as a green alternative, they should certainly include stream flow and rainforest cover into their planning strategies.