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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © The Author(s), 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 4B (2015): 108-122, doi:10.1016/j.ejrh.2015.05.010.
    Description: This study assessed the influence of land cover changes on evapotranspiration and streamflow in small catchments in the Upper Xingu River Basin (Mato Grosso state, Brazil). Streamflow was measured in catchments with uniform land use for September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2010. We used models to simulate evapotranspiration and streamflow for the four most common land cover types found in the Upper Xingu: tropical forest, cerrado (savanna), pasture, and soybean croplands. We used INLAND to perform single point simulations considering tropical rainforest, cerrado and pasturelands, and AgroIBIS for croplands. Converting natural vegetation to agriculture substantially modifies evapotranspiration and streamflow in small catchments. Measured mean streamflow in soy catchments was about three times greater than that of forest catchments, while the mean annual amplitude of flow in soy catchments was more than twice that of forest catchments. Simulated mean annual evapotranspiration was 39% lower in agricultural ecosystems (pasture and soybean cropland) than in natural ecosystems (tropical rainforest and cerrado). Observed and simulated mean annual streamflows in agricultural ecosystems were more than 100% higher than in natural ecosystems. The accuracy of the simulations was improved by using field-measured soil hydraulic properties. The inclusion of local measurements of key soil parameters is likely to improve hydrological simulations in other tropical regions.
    Description: This study was supported by the US National Science Foundation (DEB-0949996, DEB-0743703), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, process 135648/2011-4).
    Keywords: Evapotranspiration ; Streamflow ; Modeling ; Xingu Basin ; Amazon ; Cerrado
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-01-11
    Description: Author Posting. © Ecological Society of America, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of Ecological Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ecological Applications 27 (2017): 193–207, doi:10.1002/eap.1428.
    Description: Intensive cropland agriculture commonly increases streamwater solute concentrations and export from small watersheds. In recent decades, the lowland tropics have become the world's largest and most important region of cropland expansion. Although the effects of intensive cropland agriculture on streamwater chemistry and watershed export have been widely studied in temperate regions, their effects in tropical regions are poorly understood. We sampled seven headwater streams draining watersheds in forest (n = 3) or soybeans (n = 4) to examine the effects of soybean cropping on stream solute concentrations and watershed export in a region of rapid soybean expansion in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. We measured stream flows and concentrations of NO3−, PO43−, SO42−, Cl−, NH4+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, Al3+, Fe3+, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) biweekly to monthly to determine solute export. We also measured stormflows and stormflow solute concentrations in a subset of watersheds (two forest, two soybean) during two/three storms, and solutes and δ18O in groundwater, rainwater, and throughfall to characterize watershed flowpaths. Concentrations of all solutes except K+ varied seasonally in streamwater, but only Fe3+ concentrations differed between land uses. The highest streamwater and rainwater solute concentrations occurred during the peak season of wildfires in Mato Grosso, suggesting that regional changes in atmospheric composition and deposition influence seasonal stream solute concentrations. Despite no concentration differences between forest and soybean land uses, annual export of NH4+, PO43−, Ca2+, Fe3+, Na+, SO42−, DOC, and TSS were significantly higher from soybean than forest watersheds (5.6-fold mean increase). This increase largely reflected a 4.3-fold increase in water export from soybean watersheds. Despite this increase, total solute export per unit watershed area (i.e., yield) remained low for all watersheds (〈1 kg NO3− N·ha−1·yr−1, 〈2.1 kg NH4+-N·ha−1·yr−1, 〈0.2 kg PO43−-P·ha−1·yr−1, 〈1.5 kg Ca2+·ha−1·yr−1). Responses of both streamflows and solute concentrations to crop agriculture appear to be controlled by high soil hydraulic conductivity, groundwater-dominated hydrologic flowpaths on deep soils, and the absence of nitrogen fertilization. To date, these factors have buffered streams from the large increases in solute concentrations that often accompany intensive croplands in other locations.
    Description: NSF Grant Numbers: DEB-0640661, DEB-0949370; Fundação de Amparo á Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo Grant Number: FAPESP 03/13172-2; Watson Graduate Student Fellowship; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University
    Keywords: Agroecosystems ; Biogeochemistry ; Brazil ; Hydrology ; Land-use change ; Streams ; Watershed
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-09-11
    Description: © The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Scientific Reports 8 (2018): 13478, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-31175-1.
    Description: Agricultural intensification offers potential to grow more food while reducing the conversion of native ecosystems to croplands. However, intensification also risks environmental degradation through emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) and nitrate leaching to ground and surface waters. Intensively-managed croplands and nitrogen (N) fertilizer use are expanding rapidly in tropical regions. We quantified fertilizer responses of maize yield, N2O emissions, and N leaching in an Amazon soybean-maize double-cropping system on deep, highly-weathered soils in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Application of N fertilizer above 80 kg N ha−1 yr−1 increased maize yield and N2O emissions only slightly. Unlike experiences in temperate regions, leached nitrate accumulated in deep soils with increased fertilizer and conversion to cropping at N fertilization rates 〉80 kg N ha−1, which exceeded maize demand. This raises new questions about the capacity of tropical agricultural soils to store nitrogen, which may determine when and how much nitrogen impacts surface waters.
    Description: This project was supported by grants from NSF (DEB-1257944, DEB-1257391, DEB1457017, EF-1541770, EF-1655432, EF-1519342, IOS-1660034, IOS-1457662, and EAR-1739724) to M. Macedo, C. Neill, and M.T. Coe.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-10-03
    Description: © The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Tropical Conservation Science 10 (2017): 1-5, doi:10.1177/1940082917720669.
    Description: Large-scale commercial cropping of soybeans expanded in the tropical Amazon and Cerrado biomes of Brazil after 1990. More recently, cropping intensified from single-cropping of soybeans to double-cropping of soybeans with corn or cotton. Cropland expansion and intensification, and the accompanying use of mineral fertilizers, raise concerns about whether nutrient runoff and impacts to surface waters will be similar to those experienced in commercial cropland regions at temperate latitudes. We quantified water infiltration through soils, water yield, and streamwater chemistry in watersheds draining native tropical forest and single- and double-cropped areas on the level, deep, highly weathered soils where cropland expansion and intensification typically occurs. Although water yield increased four-fold from croplands, streamwater chemistry remained largely unchanged. Soil characteristics exerted important control over the movement of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) into streams. High soil infiltration rates prevented surface erosion and movement of particulate P, while P fixation in surface soils restricted P movement to deeper soil layers. Nitrogen retention in deep soils, likely by anion exchange, also appeared to limit N leaching and export in streamwater from both single- and double-cropped watersheds that received nitrogen fertilizer. These mechanisms led to lower streamwater P and N concentrations and lower watershed N and P export than would be expected, based on studies from temperate croplands with similar cropping and fertilizer application practices.
    Description: The work described here was supported by National Science Foundation grants EF 1655432, IOS 1457662 and ICER 1342953 and grants from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo.
    Keywords: Water ; Quality ; Agriculture ; Intensification ; Impact
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-06
    Description: Commodity crop expansion, for both global and domestic urban markets, follows multiple land change pathways entailing direct and indirect deforestation, and results in various social and environmental impacts. Here we compare six published case studies of rapid commodity crop expansion within forested tropical regions. Across cases, between 1.7 percent and 89.5 percent of new commodity cropland was sourced from forestlands. Four main factors controlled pathways of commodity crop expansion: (i) the availability of suitable forestland, which is determined by forest area, agroecological or accessibility constraints, and land use policies, (ii) economic and technical characteristics of agricultural systems, (iii) differences in constraints and strategies between small-scale and large-scale actors, and (iv) variable costs and benefits of forest clearing. When remaining forests were unsuitable for agriculture and/or policies restricted forest encroachment, a larger share of commodity crop expansion occurred by conversion of existing agricultural lands, and land use displacement was smaller. Expansion strategies of large-scale actors emerge from context-specific balances between the search for suitable lands; transaction costs or conflicts associated with expanding into forests or other state-owned lands versus smallholder lands; net benefits of forest clearing; and greater access to infrastructure in already cleared lands. We propose five hypotheses to be tested in further studies: (i) land availability mediates expansion pathways and the likelihood that land use is displaced to distant, rather than to local places; (ii) use of already-cleared lands is favored when commodity crops require access to infrastructure; (iii) in proportion to total agricultural expansion, large-scale actors generate more clearing of mature forests than smallholders; (iv) property rights and land tenure security influence the actors participating in commodity crop expansion, the form of land use displacement, and livelihood outcomes; (v) intensive commodity crops may fail to spare land when inducing displacement. We conclude that understanding pathways of commodity crop expansion is essential to improve land use governance.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN22540 , Environmental Research Letters (ISSN 1748-9326); 9; 7; 074012
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Land use, land use change, and forestry accounted for two-thirds of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions profile in 2005. Amazon deforestation has declined by more than 80% over the past decade, yet Brazil's forests extend beyond the Amazon biome. Rapid expansion of cropland in the neighboring Cerrado biome has the potential to undermine climate mitigation efforts if emissions from dry forest and woodland conversion negate some of the benefits of avoided Amazon deforestation. Here, we used satellite data on cropland expansion, forest cover, and vegetation carbon stocks to estimate annual gross forest carbon emissions from cropland expansion in the Cerrado biome. Nearly half of the Cerrado met Brazil's definition of forest cover in 2000 (greater than or equal to 0.5 ha with greater than or equal to 10% canopy cover). In areas of established crop production, conversion of both forest and non-forest Cerrado formations for cropland declined during 2003-2013. However, forest carbon emissions from cropland expansion increased over the past decade in Matopiba, a new frontier of agricultural production that includes portions of Maranhao, Tocantins, Piau, and Bahia states. Gross carbon emissions from cropland expansion in the Cerrado averaged 16.28 Tg C yr (exp -1) between 2003 and 2013, with forest-to-cropland conversion accounting for 29% of emissions. The fraction of forest carbon emissions from Matopiba was much higher; between 2010-2013, large-scale cropland conversion in Matopiba contributed 45% of total Cerrado forest carbon emissions. Carbon emissions from Cerrado-tocropland transitions offset 5-7% of the avoided emissions from reduced Amazon deforestation rates during 2011-2013. Comprehensive national estimates of forest carbon fluxes, including all biomes, are critical to detect cross-biome leakage within countries and achieve climate mitigation targets to reduce emissions from land use, land use change, and forestry.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN51932 , Environmental Research Letters (e-ISSN 1748-9326); 12; 2; 025004
    Format: text
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Interactions between climate and land-use change may drive widespread degradation of Amazonian forests. High-intensity fires associated with extreme weather events could accelerate this degradation by abruptly increasing tree mortality, but this process remains poorly understood. Here we present, to our knowledge, the first field-based evidence of a tipping point in Amazon forests due to altered fire regimes. Based on results of a large-scale, longterm experiment with annual and triennial burn regimes (B1yr and B3yr, respectively) in the Amazon, we found abrupt increases in fire-induced tree mortality (226 and 462%) during a severe drought event, when fuel loads and air temperatures were substantially higher and relative humidity was lower than long-term averages. This threshold mortality response had a cascading effect, causing sharp declines in canopy cover (23 and 31%) and aboveground live biomass (12 and 30%) and favoring widespread invasion by flammable grasses across the forest edge area (80 and 63%), where fires were most intense (e.g., 220 and 820 kW x m(exp 1)). During the droughts of 2007 and 2010, regional forest fires burned 12 and 5% of southeastern Amazon forests, respectively, compared with less than 1% in nondrought years. These results show that a few extreme drought events, coupled with forest fragmentation and anthropogenic ignition sources, are already causing widespread fire-induced tree mortality and forest degradation across southeastern Amazon forests. Future projections of vegetation responses to climate change across drier portions of the Amazon require more than simulation of global climate forcing alone and must also include interactions of extreme weather events, fire, and land-use change.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN20760 , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (e-ISSN 1091-6490); 111; 17; 6347–6352
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: From 2006-2010 deforestation in the Amazon frontier state of Mato Grosso decreased to 30% of its historical average (1996-2005) while agricultural production reached an all time high, achieving the oft-cited objective of increasing production while maintaining forest cover. This study combines satellite data with government deforestation and production statistics to assess land-use transitions and potential market and policy drivers associated with these trends. In the forested region of the state, increased soy production from 2001-2005 was entirely due to cropland expansion into previously cleared areas (74%) or forests (26%). From 2006-2010, 78% of production increases were due to expansion (22% to yield increases), with 91% on previously cleared land. Cropland expansion fell from 10% to 2% of deforestation between the two periods, with pasture expansion accounting for most remaining deforestation. Declining deforestation coincided with a collapse of commodity markets and implementation of policy measures to reduce deforestation. Soybean profitability has since increased to pre-2006 levels while deforestation continued to decline, suggesting that anti-deforestation measures may have influenced the agricultural sector. We found little evidence of leakage of soy expansion into cerrado in Mato Grosso or forests in neighboring Amazon states during the late 2000s, although leakage to more distant regions is possible. This study provides empirical evidence that reduced deforestation and increased agricultural production can occur simultaneously in tropical forest frontiers through productive use of already cleared lands. It remains uncertain whether government and industry-led policies can contain deforestation when market conditions again favor a boom in agricultural expansion.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC.JA.5126.2011
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2015-12-23
    Print ISSN: 1354-1013
    Electronic ISSN: 1365-2486
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Published by Wiley
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2014-06-25
    Print ISSN: 1758-678X
    Electronic ISSN: 1758-6798
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Springer Nature
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