UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Streams with Riparian Forest Buffers versus Impoundments Differ in Discharge and DOM Characteristics for Pasture Catchments in Southern Amazonia Dalmagro, Higo J.; Lathuillière, Michael J.; Sallo, Fernando da S.; Guerreiro, Maurel F.; Pinto, Osvaldo B.; de Arruda, Paulo H.Z.; Couto, Eduardo G.; Johnson, Mark S.


Forest to pasture land use change following deforestation in Southern Amazonia can result in changes to stream water quality. However, some pasture streams have riparian forest buffers, while others are dammed for farm ponds. Stream corridor management can have differential effects on hydrology and dissolved organic matter (DOM) characteristics. We examined rainfall-runoff patterns and DOM characteristics in a pasture catchment with a forested riparian buffer, and an adjacent catchment with an impoundment. Total streamflow was 1.5 times higher with the riparian buffer, whereas stormflow represented 20% of total discharge for the dammed stream versus 13% with buffer. Stream corridor management was also the primary factor related to DOM characteristics. In the impounded catchment, DOM was found to be less structurally complex, with lower molecular weight compounds, a lesser degree of humification, and a larger proportion of protein-like DOM. In the catchment with a forested buffer, DOM was dominated by humic-like components, with fluorescence characteristics indicative of DOM derived from humified soil organic matter under native vegetation. Our results suggest that differences in stream corridor management can have important implications for carbon cycling in headwater pasture catchments, and that such changes may have the potential to influence water quality downstream in the Amazon basin.

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