Hydrological trade-offs due to different land covers and land uses in the Brazilian Cerrado

Anache, Jamil A. A.; Wendland, Edson; Rosalem, Lívia M. P.; Youlton, Cristian; Oliveira, Paulo T. S.

Farmland expansion in the Brazilian Cerrado, considered one of the largest agricultural frontiers in the world, has the potential to alter water fluxes on different spatial scales. Despite some large-scale studies being developed, there are still few investigations in experimental sites in this region. Here, we investigate the water balance components in experimental plots and the groundwater table fluctuation in different land covers: wooded Cerrado, sugarcane, pasture and bare soil. Furthermore, we identify possible water balance trade-offs due to the different land covers. This study was developed between 2012 and 2016 in the central region of the state of São Paulo in southern Brazil. Hydrometeorological variables, groundwater table, surface runoff and other water balance components were monitored inside experimental plots containing different land covers; the datasets were analyzed using statistical parameters; and the water balance components uncertainties were computed. Replacing wooded Cerrado by pastureland and sugarcane shifts the overland flow (up to 42 mm yrinline-formula−1) and the water balance residual (up to 504 mm yrinline-formula−1) and may affect groundwater table behavior. This fact suggests significant changes in the water partitioning in a transient land cover and land use (LCLU) system, as the evapotranspiration is lower (up to 719 mm yrinline-formula−1) in agricultural land covers than in the undisturbed Cerrado. We recommend long-term observations for continuing the evaluations initiated in this study, mainly because there are few basic studies on tropical environments at the hillslope scale and more assessments are needed for a better understanding of the real field conditions. Such efforts should be made to reduce uncertainties, validate the water balance hypothesis and catch the variability of hydrological processes.



Anache, Jamil A. A. / Wendland, Edson / Rosalem, Lívia M. P. / et al: Hydrological trade-offs due to different land covers and land uses in the Brazilian Cerrado. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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