Evaluation of the behavior of water in soil under eucalipto and native forest covers
AbstractAreas occupied by grasslands have been replaced by eucalyptus plantations, which modifies the landscape, the regional economy, and water dynamics in soils. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the behavior of water in Oxisol in two vegetation land covers, a six years old eucalyptus plantation, and a native forest in regeneration process for twenty years. The study was developed in the Una River Basin from June 2009 to April 2011. Ninety six moisture sensors were installed (Watermark™) at depths of 20, 60, and 120 cm. It was observed that, upon the occurrence of rainfall, the superficial and intermediate layers had increased humidity, which did not occur in the deepest layer. It was found that there were differences in soil moisture measured in the areas of eucalyptus and native forest and throughout the study period humidity was maintained between field capacity and permanent wilting point, with no water restriction. Canopy temperature of the eucalyptus plantation remained lower, indicating that its evapotranspiration was higher than in the forest area. The differences in moisture can be explained by the difference between the physical properties of soils in the study areas, because although they have the same slope, receive the same insolation and are close to each other, soil covered by eucalyptus presented a water storage capacity 63% above the area with native forest. It was also observed that all rainfall reaching the soil surface infiltrated and there was no runoff in the two areas studied. It was concluded that the results of this research provide important insights about differences in the behavior of water in the soil when covered by eucalyptus or native forest. For this reason, we suggest further studies with greater geographic reach in paired areas with different slopes, aspects and soil types.
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