Thesis

Patterns of woody growth for Brazilian savanna (Cerrado) trees in the Cuiaba Basin and Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil

The Brazilian savanna, locally known as the Cerrado, is a major ecosystem that covers a vast majority of central Brazil. Little is known about how woody growth within the Cerrado is affected by soil physical and chemical properties. In this study, the relationship between woody growth and soil physical and chemical properties was assessed in upland and seasonally flooded (hyperseasonal) cerrado located in the Cuiaba Basin and Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil, respectively. We sampled from nine vegetation stands representative of the Cerrado. Diameter at breast height, wood cores, and soil nutrient concentration were measured every 5-10 m along a 100 m transect randomly installed in each stand. Correlation coefficients were used to assess the relationships between selected ecosystem and surface soil variables. Wood Carbon (C) storage was positively correlated with nitrogen (N), potassium (K), cation exchange capacity (CEC), and clay/silt soil content but was negatively correlated with sand soil content and bulk density. ANCOVA tests were used to analyze the relationships between C storage and surface soil variables based on site hydrology. There were no differences in the relationships between C storage and soil properties despite different hydrological regimes for upland and hyperseasonal sites. Ultimately, this study suggests that cerrado C storage is nutrient limited. Anthropogenic activities, such as deforestation, cattle ranching, and climate change, within the area could threaten and alter the relationships between cerrado vegetation growth and soil nutrient availability. This study aids in profiling cerrado ecosystem C storage and examines its role as a C sink in the global C cycle

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