Evasion of CO2 and dissolved carbon in river waters of three small catchments in an area occupied by small family farms in the eastern Amazon

  • Maria Beatriz Silva da Rosa Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA), Belém, PA, Brasil. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Ambientais
  • Ricardo de Oliveira Figueiredo Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa) Meio Ambiente, Campinas, SP, Brasil Departamento de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento
  • Daniel Markewitz University of Georgia (UGA), Athens, Georgia, USA Department of Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Alex Vladimir Krusche Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Piracicaba, SP, Brasil. Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura
  • Fabíola Fernandes Costa Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa) Amazônia Oriental, Belém, PA, Brasil Laboratório de Análises de Sistemas Sustentáveis
  • Pedro Gerhard Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa) Monitoramento por Satélite, Campinas, SP, Brasil
Keywords: Amazon basin, biogeochemistry, carbon dioxide evasion.


CO2 effluxes from streams and rivers has been hypothesized to be a critical pathway of carbon flow from the biosphere back to the atmosphere. This study was conducted in three Amazonian small catchments to evaluate carbon evasion and dynamics, where land-use change has occurred on small family-farms. Monthly field campaigns were conducted from June 2006 to May 2007 in the Cumaru (CM), Pachibá (PB) and São João (SJ) streams. Electrical conductivity, pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen measurements were done in situ, while water samples were collected to determine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations, as well as carbon dioxide partial pressures (pCO2) and CO2 evasion fluxes. Instantaneous discharge measured by a current meter was used to calculate DOC fluxes. The sites’ DOC, DIC, pCO2, and CO2 flux measurements ranged as follows, respectively: 0.27 - 12.13 mg L-1; 3.5 - 38.9 mg L-1; 2,265 - 26,974 ppm; and 3.39 - 75.35 μmol m-2 s-1. DOC annual flux estimates for CM, SJ and PB were, respectively, 281, 245, and 169 kg C ha-1. CO2 evasion fluxes ranged from 3.39 to 75.35 μmol m-2 s-1, with an average of 22.70 ± 1.67 μmol m-2 s-1. These CO2 evasion fluxes per unit area were similar to those measured for major Amazonian rivers, thus confirming our hypothesis that small streams can evade substantial quantities of CO2. As secondary vegetation is abundant as a result of family farming management in the region, we conclude that this vegetation can be a major driver of an abundant carbon cycle.