Advertisement

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 227–257 | Cite as

Natural controls and human impacts on stream nutrient concentrations in a deforested region of the Brazilian Amazon basin

  • T.W. Biggs
  • T. Dunne
  • L.A. Martinelli
Article

Abstract

This study documents regional patterns in stream nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the Brazilian state of Rondônia in the southwestern Amazon basin, and interprets the patterns as functions of watershed soil properties, deforestation extent, and urban population density. The survey includes 77 different locations sampled in the dry and wet seasons, with a watershed size range from 1.8 to 33,000 km2 over a total area of approximately 140,000 km2. A sequential regression technique is used to separate the effects of natural watersheds properties and anthropogenic disturbance on nutrients and chloride. Natural variation in soil texture explains most of the variance in stream nitrate concentrations, while deforestation extent and urban population density explain most of the variance in stream chloride (Cl) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) concentrations. Stream TDN, total dissolved phosphorus (TDP), particulate phosphorus (PP) and Cl concentrations all increase non-linearly with deforestation extent in the dry season after controlling for natural variability due to soil type. Stream nutrient and Cl disturbances are observed only in watersheds more than 66–75% deforested (watershed area range 2–300 km2), suggesting stream nutrient concentrations are resistant to perturbation from vegetation conversion below a 66–75% threshold. In heavily deforested watersheds, stream Cl shows the largest changes in concentration (12 ± 6 times forested background), followed by TDP (2.3 ± 1.5), PP (1.9 ± 0.8) and TDN (1.7 ± 0.5). Wet season signals in Cl and TDP are diluted relative to the dry season, and no land use signal is observed in wet season TDN, PN, or PP. Stream TDN and TDP concentrations in non-urban watersheds both correlate with stream Cl, suggesting that sources other than vegetation and soil organic matter contribute to enhanced nutrient concentrations. Small, urbanized watersheds (5–20 km2) have up to 40 times the chloride and 10 times the TDN concentrations of forested catchments in the dry season. Several large watersheds (∼1000–3000 km2) with urban populations show higher Cl, TDN and TDP levels than any small pasture watershed, suggesting that human impacts on nutrient concentrations in large river systems may be dominated by urban areas. Anthropogenic disturbance of dry-season stream Cl and TDN is detectable in large streams draining deforested and urbanized watersheds up to 33,000 km2. We conclude that regional deforestation and urbanization result in changes in stream Cl, N and P concentrations at wide range of scales, from small pasture streams to large river systems.

Biogeochemistry Deforestation Nitrogen Phosphorus Tropical Urban 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aitkenhead J.A. and McDowell W.H. 2000. Soil C:N as a predictor of annual riverine DOC flux at local and global scales. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 14: 127-138.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander R.B., Elliott A.H., Shankar U. and McBride G.B. 2002a. Estimating the sources and transport of nutrients in the Waikato River Basin, New Zealand. Water Resour. Res. 38: art.no. 1268.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander R.B., Johnes P.J., Boyer E.W. and Smith R.A. 2002b. A comparison of models for estimating the riverine export of nitrogen from large watersheds. Biogeochemistry 57: 295-339.Google Scholar
  4. Avnimelech Y. and Raveh J. 1976. Nitrate leakage from soils differing in texture and nitrogen load. J. Environ. Qual. 5: 79-82.Google Scholar
  5. Beaulac M.N. and Reckhow K.H. 1982. An examination of land use-nutrient export relationships. Water Ressour. Bull. 18: 1013-1024.Google Scholar
  6. Bettencourt J.S., Tosdal R.M., Leite Jr. W.B. and Payolla B.L. 1999. Mesoproterozoic rapakivi granites of the Rondônian Tin Province, southwestern border of the Amazonian craton, Brazil. I. Reconnaissance U-Pb geochronology and regional implications. Precambrian Res. 95: 41-67.Google Scholar
  7. Biggs T.W., Dunne T., Domingues T.F. and Martinelli L.A. 2002. The relative influence of natural watershed properties and human disturbance on stream solute concentrations in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon basin. Water Resour. Res. 38(8): art. no. 1150, doi 10.1029/2001WR000271.Google Scholar
  8. Bormann F.H. and Likens G.E. 1979. Pattern and Process in a Forested Ecosystem. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Bremner J.M. and Mulvaney C.S. 1982. Nitrogen-total. In: Page A.L., Miller R.H. and Keeney D.R. (eds) Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2. Chemical and Mircrobiological Properties. American Society of Agronomy, Madison. pp. 595-624.Google Scholar
  10. Browder J.O. and Godfrey B.J. 1997. Rainforest cities: urbanization, development, and globalization of the Brazilian Amazon. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Brown I.F., Martinelli L.A., Thomas W.W., Moreira M.Z., Ferreira C.A.C. and Victoria R.A. 1995. Uncertainty in the biomass of Amazonian forests-an example from Rondônia, Brazil. For. Ecol. and Manage. 75: 175-189.Google Scholar
  12. Bruijnzeel L.A. 1991. Nutrient input-output budgets of tropical forest ecosystems: a review. J. Trop. Ecol. 7: 25-36.Google Scholar
  13. Carpenter S.R., Caraco N.F., Correll D.L., Howarth R.W., Sharpley A.N. and Smith V.H. 1998. Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecol. Appl. 8: 559-568.Google Scholar
  14. Clark E.A. 1998. Landscape variables affecting livestock impacts on water quality in the humid temperate zone. Can. J. Plant Sci. 78: 181-190.Google Scholar
  15. Cochrane T.T. 1998. Sigteron: Sistema de Informação geográfica para os terrenos e solos do estado de Rondônia, Brasil. Tecnosolo/DHV Consultants BV, Porto Velho.Google Scholar
  16. Companhia de Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais 1997. Mapa Geológico do Estado de Rondônia. Porto Velho.Google Scholar
  17. Cornish P.S. and Raison R.J. 1977. Effects of phosphorus and plants on nitrogen mineralisation in three grassland soils. Plant and Soil 47: 289-295.Google Scholar
  18. Creed I.F. and Band L.E. 1998. Export of nitrogen from catchments within a temperate forest: evidence for a unifying mechanism regulated by variable source area dynamics. Water Resources Research 34: 3105-3120.Google Scholar
  19. Dillon P.J. and Kirchner W.B. 1975. The effects of geology and land use on the export of phosphorus from watersheds. Water Res. 9: 135-148.Google Scholar
  20. Downing J.A., McClain M., Twilley R., Melack J.M., Elser J., Rabalais N.N., Lewis Jr. W.M., Turner R.E., Corredor J., Soto D., Yanez-Arancibia A. and Howarth R.W. 1999. The impact of accelerating land use change on the N-cycle of tropical aquatic ecosystems: current conditions and projected changes. Biogeochemistry 46: 109-148.Google Scholar
  21. Grayson R.B., Gippel C.J., Finalyson B.L. and Hart B.T. 1997. Catchment-wide impacts on water quality: the use of 'snapshot' sampling during stable flow. J. Hydrol. 199: 121-134.Google Scholar
  22. Guggenberger G., Haumaier L., Thomas R.J. and Zech W. 1996. Assessing the organic phosphorus status of an Oxisol under tropical pastures following native savanna using P-31 NMR spectroscopy. Biol. Fert. Soils 23: 332-339.Google Scholar
  23. Gustafson A. 1983. Leaching of nitrate from arable land into groundwater in Sweden. Environ. Geol. 5: 65-71.Google Scholar
  24. Herlihy A.T., Stoddard J.L. and Johnson C.B. 1998. The relationship between stream chemistry and watershed land cover data in the Mid-Atlantic region. US Water Air Soil Pollut. 105: 377-386.Google Scholar
  25. Hill A.R. 1978. Factors affecting the export of nitrate-nitrogen from drainage basins in southern Ontario. Water Res. 12: 1045-1057.Google Scholar
  26. Hobbie S.E. and Vitousek P.M. 2000. Nutrient limitation of decomposition in Hawaiian forests. Ecology 81: 1867-1877.Google Scholar
  27. House W.A. and Warwick M.S. 1998. A mass-balance approach to quantifying the importance of instream processes during nutrient transport in a large river catchment. Sci. Total Environ. 210/211: 139-152.Google Scholar
  28. Howarth R.W., Billen G., Swaney D., Townsend A., Jaworski N., Lajtha K., Downing J.A., Elmgren R., Caraco N., Jordan T., Berendse F., Freney J., Kudeyarov V., Murdoch P. and Zhao-Liang Z. 1996. Regional nitrogen budgets and riverine N and P fluxes for the drainages to the North Atlantic Ocean: natural and human influences. Biogeochemistry 35: 75-139.Google Scholar
  29. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografía e Estatisticas IBGE 1996. Contagem da Populaçáo. Brasilia.Google Scholar
  30. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística IBGE 2000. Pesquisa Nacional de Saneamento Básico. Rio de Janeiro.Google Scholar
  31. Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais INPE 2000. Monitoring of the Brazilian Amazonian Forest by Satellite, 1998-1999. São Jose dos Campos.Google Scholar
  32. Jones D.W., Dale V.H., Beauchamp J.J., Pedlowski M.A. and O'Neill R.V. 1995. Farming in Rondônia. Resour. Energy Econ. 17: 155-188.Google Scholar
  33. Kauffman S.J., Royer D.L., Chang S. and Berner R.A. 2003. Export of chloride after clear-cutting in the Hubbard Brook sandbox experiment. Biogeochemistry 63: 23-33.Google Scholar
  34. Kirchner W.B. 1974. An examination of the relationship between drainage basin morphology and the export of phosphorous. Limno. Oceanogr. 20: 267-270.Google Scholar
  35. Lowrance R., Altier L.S., Newbold J.D., Schnabel R.R., Groffman P.M., Denver J.M., Correll D.L., Gilliam J.W., Robinson J.L., Brinsfield R.B., Staver K. and Lucas W. 1997. Water quality functions of riparian forest buffers in Chesapeake Bay watersheds. Environ. Manage. 21: 687-712.Google Scholar
  36. Malmer A. 1996. Phosphorus loading to tropical rain forest streams after clear-felling and burning in Salbah, Malaysia. Water Resour. Res. 32: 2213-2220.Google Scholar
  37. Markewitz D., Davidson E.A., Figueiredo R., Victoria R.L. and Krusche A.V. 2000. Control of cation concentrations in stream waters by surface soil processes in an Amazonian watershed. Nature 410: 802-805.Google Scholar
  38. Martinelli L.A., Krusche A.V., Victoria R.L., de Camargo P.B., Bernardes M., Ferraz E.S., de Moraes J.M.D. and Ballester M.V. 1999. Effects of sewage on the chemical composition of Piracicaba River, Brazil. Water Air Soil Pollu. 110: 67-79.Google Scholar
  39. McFarland A.M.S. and Hauck L.M. 1999. Relating agricultural land uses to in-stream stormwater quality. J. Environ. Qual. 28: 836-844.Google Scholar
  40. McKenzie L.M., Ward D.E. and Hao W.M. 1996. Chlorine and bromine in the biomass of tropical and temperate ecosystems. In: Levine J.S. (ed) Biomass Burning and Global Change, Vol 1. Remote Sensing, Modeling and Inventory Development, and Biomass Burning in Africa. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, pp. 241-248.Google Scholar
  41. Melich, A. 1953. Determination of P, Ca, Mg, K, Na, and NH4 NCSU Soil Test Division Mimeograph. Raleigh, NC.Google Scholar
  42. Merriam J.L., McDowell W.H., Tank J.L., Wollheim W.M., Crenshaw C.L. and Johnson S.L. 2002. Characterizing nitrogen dynamics, retention and transport in a tropical rainforest stream using an in situ 15N addition. Freshwater Biol. 47: 143-160.Google Scholar
  43. Mortatti J., Probst J.L. and Ferreira J.R. 1992. Hydrological and geochemical characteristics of the Jamari and Jiparana river basins (Rondonia, Brazil). GeoJournal 26: 287-296.Google Scholar
  44. Neff J.C., Hobbie S.E. and Vitousek P.M. 2000. Nutrient and mineralogical control on dissolved organic C, N and P fluxes and stoichiometry in Hawaiian soils. Biogeochemistry 51: 283-302.Google Scholar
  45. Neill C., Piccolo M.C., Steudler P.A., Melillo J.M., Feigl B.J. and Cerri C.C. 1995. Nitrogen dynamics in soils of forests and active pastures in the western Brazilian Amazon basin. Soil Biol. Biochem. 27: 1167-1175.Google Scholar
  46. Neill C., Deegan L.A., Thomas S.M. and Cerri C.C. 2001. Deforestation for pasture alters nitrogen and phosphorus in small Amazonian streams. Ecol. Appl. 11: 1817-1828.Google Scholar
  47. Newbold J.D., Elwood J.W., Schulze M.S.R.W.S. and Barmeier J.C. 1983. Continuous ammonium enrichment of a woodland stream: uptake kinetics, leaf decomposition, and nitrification. Freshwater Biol. 13: 193-204.Google Scholar
  48. Novotny V. and Chesters G. 1981. Handbook of Nonpoint Pollution: Sources and Management. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.Google Scholar
  49. Nye P.H. and Greenland D.J. 1960. The Soil Under Shifting Cultivation. Commonwealth Bureau of Soils, Harpenden, UK.Google Scholar
  50. Ometo J.P.H.B., Martinelli L.A., Ballester M.V., Gessner A., Krusche A.V., Victoria R.L. and Williams M. 2000. Effects of land use on water chemistry and macroinvertebrates in two streams of the Piracicaba river basin, south-east Brazil. Freshwater Biol. 44: 327-337.Google Scholar
  51. Pastor J., Aber J.D., McClaugherty C.A. and Melillo J.M. 1984. Aboveground production and N and P cycling along a nitrogen mineralization gradient on Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin. Ecology 65: 256-268.Google Scholar
  52. Pedlowski M.A., Dale V.H., Matricardi E.A.T. and da Silva Filho E.P. 1997. Patterns and impacts of deforestation in Rondonia, Brazil. Landscape Urban Plan. 38: 149-157.Google Scholar
  53. Peterjohn W.T. and Correll D.L. 1984. Nutrient dynamics in an agricultrual watershed: observations on the role of a riparian forest. Ecology 65: 1466-1475.Google Scholar
  54. Peterson B.J., Wollheim W.M., Mulholland P.J., Webster J.R., Meyer J.L., Tank J.L., Martí E., Bowden W.B., Valett H.M., Hershey A.E., McDowell W.H., Dodds W.K., Hamilton S.K., Gregory S. and Morrall D.D. 2001. Control of nitrogen export from watersheds by headwater streams. Science 292: 86-90.Google Scholar
  55. Pote D.H., Daniel T.C., Nichols D.J., Sharpley A.N., Moore Jr. P.A., Miller D.M. and Edwards D.R. 1999. Relationship between phosphorus levels in three ultisols and phosphorus concentrations in runoff. J. Environ. Qual. 28: 170-175.Google Scholar
  56. Qualls R.G., Haines B.L., Swank W.T. and Tyler S.W. 2000. Soluble organic and inorganic nutrient fluxes in clearcut and mature deciduous forests. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64: 1068-1077.Google Scholar
  57. Qualls R.G., Haines B.L., Swank W.T. and Tyler S.W. 2002. Retention of soluble organic nutrients by a forested ecosystem. Biogeochemistry 61: 135-171.Google Scholar
  58. RADAMBRASIL 1978. Levantamento de recursos naturais. Ministerio das Minas e Energia, Rio de Janeiro.Google Scholar
  59. Rignot E., Salas W.A. and Skole D.L. 1997. Mapping deforestation and secondary growth in Rondonia, Brazil, using imaging radar and thematic mapper data. Remote Sens. Environ. 59: 167-179.Google Scholar
  60. Roberts D.A., Numata I., Holmes K., Batista G., Krug T., Monteiro A., Powell B. and Chadwick O.A. 2002. Large area mapping of land-cover change in Rondónia using multitemporal spectral mixture analysis and decision tree classifiers. J. Geophys. Res. 107: 8073, JD000374.Google Scholar
  61. Seitzinger S.P., Styles R.V., Boyer E.W., Alexander R.B., Billen G., Howarth R.W., Mayer B. and Van Breemen N. 2002. Nitrogen retention in rivers: model development and application to watersheds in the northeastern U.S.A. Biogeochemistry 57/58: 199-237.Google Scholar
  62. Silver W.L., Neff J., McGroddy M., Veldkamp E., Keller M. and Cosme R. 2000. Effects of soil texture on belowground carbon and nutrient storage in a lowland Amazonian forest ecosystem. Ecosystems 3: 193-209.Google Scholar
  63. Smith R.A., Schwartz G.E. and Alexander R.B. 1997. Regional interpretation of water-quality monitoring data. Water Resour. Res. 33: 2781-2798.Google Scholar
  64. Sombroek W.G. 1966. Amazon Soils: a Reconnaissance of the Soils of the Brazilian Amazon Region. Centre for Agricultural Publications and Documentation, Wageningen.Google Scholar
  65. Sonzogni W.C., Chesters G., Coote D.R., Jeffs D.N., J.C.K, R.C.O and Robinson J.B. 1980. Pollution from land runoff. Environ. Sci. Technol. 14: 148-153.Google Scholar
  66. Swank W.T. and Vose J.M. 1997. Long-term nitrogen dynamics of Coweeta forested watersheds in the southeastern United States of America. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 11: 657-671.Google Scholar
  67. Swank W.T., Vose J.M. and Elliott K.J. 2001. Long-term hydrologic and water quality responses following commercial clearcutting of mixed hardwoods on a southern Appalachian catchment. For. Ecol. Manage. 143: 163-178.Google Scholar
  68. Thomas S.M., Neill C., Deegan L.A., Krusche A.V., Ballester V.M. and Victoria R.L. Influences of land use and stream size on particulate and dissolved materials in a small Amazonian stream network. Biogeochemistry (in press).Google Scholar
  69. Triska F.J., Kennedy V.C., Avanzino R.J., Zellweger G.W. and Bencala K.E. 1989. Retention and transport of nutrients in a third-order stream: channel processes. Ecology 70: 1877-1892.Google Scholar
  70. Uhl C. and Jordan C.F. 1984. Succession and nutrient dynamics following forest cutting and burning in Amazonia. Ecology 65: 1476-1490.Google Scholar
  71. Valderrama J.C. 1981. The simultaneous analysis of total nitrogen and total phosphorus in natural waters. Marine Chem. 10: 109-122.Google Scholar
  72. Vitousek P.M. and Reiners W.A. 1975. Ecosystem succession and nutrient retention: a hypothesis. BioScience 25: 376-381.Google Scholar
  73. Vitousek P.M. and Sanford R.L.J. 1986. Nutrient cycling in moist tropical forest. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 17: 137-167.Google Scholar
  74. Vitousek P.M. and Matson P.A. 1988. Nitrogen transformations in a range of tropical forest soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 20: 361-367.Google Scholar
  75. Vitousek P.M., Gosz J.R., Grier C.G., Melillo J.M., Reiners W.A. and Todd R.L. 1979. Nitrate losses from disturbed ecosystems. Science 204: 469-474.Google Scholar
  76. Vollenweider R.A. 1971. The Scientific Fundamentals of Lake and Stream Eutrophication with Particular Reference to Phosphorus and Nitrogen as Eutrophication Factors. OECD, ParisGoogle Scholar
  77. Walkey A. and T.A.B. 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter, and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci. 37: 29-38.Google Scholar
  78. Williams M.R. and Melack J.M. 1997. Solute export from forested and partially deforested catchments in the central Amazon. Biogeochemistry 38: 67-102.Google Scholar
  79. Williams M.R., Fisher T.R. and Melack J.M. 1997. Solute dynamics in soil water and groundwater in a central Amazon catchment undergoing deforestation. Biogeochemistry 38: 303-335.Google Scholar
  80. Wong M.T.F., Hughes R. and Rowell D.L. 1990. Retarded leaching of nitrate in acid soils from the tropics: measurement of the effective anion exchange capacity. J. Soil Sci. 41: 655-663Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • T.W. Biggs
  • T. Dunne
  • L.A. Martinelli

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations