Advertisement

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 105, Issue 1–3, pp 53–74 | Cite as

Amazon deforestation alters small stream structure, nitrogen biogeochemistry and connectivity to larger rivers

  • Linda A. Deegan
  • Christopher Neill
  • Christie L. Haupert
  • M. Victoria R. Ballester
  • Alex V. Krusche
  • Reynaldo L. Victoria
  • Suzanne M. Thomas
  • Emily de Moor
Article

Abstract

Human activities that modify land cover can alter the structure and biogeochemistry of small streams but these effects are poorly known over large regions of the humid tropics where rates of forest clearing are high. We examined how conversion of Amazon lowland tropical forest to cattle pasture influenced the physical and chemical structure, organic matter stocks and N cycling of small streams. We combined a regional ground survey of small streams with an intensive study of nutrient cycling using 15N additions in three representative streams: a second-order forest stream, a second-order pasture stream and a third-order pasture stream. These three streams were within several km of each other and on similar soils. Replacement of forest with pasture decreased stream habitat complexity by changing streams from run and pool channels with forest leaf detritus (50% cover) to grass-filled (63% cover) channel with runs of slow-moving water. In the survey, pasture streams consistently had lower concentrations of dissolved oxygen and nitrate (NO3 ) compared with similar-sized forest streams. Stable isotope additions revealed that second-order pasture stream had a shorter NH4 + uptake length, higher uptake rates into organic matter components and a shorter 15NH4 + residence time than the second-order forest stream or the third-order pasture stream. Nitrification was significant in the forest stream (19% of the added 15NH4 +) but not in the second-order pasture (0%) or third-order (6%) pasture stream. The forest stream retained 7% of added 15N in organic matter compartments and exported 53% (15NH4 + = 34%; 15NO3  = 19%). In contrast, the second-order pasture stream retained 75% of added 15N, predominantly in grasses (69%) and exported only 4% as 15NH4 +. The fate of tracer 15N in the third-order pasture stream more closely resembled that in the forest stream, with 5% of added N retained and 26% exported (15NH4 + = 9%; 15NO3  = 6%). These findings indicate that the widespread infilling by grass in small streams in areas deforested for pasture greatly increases the retention of inorganic N in the first- and second-order streams, which make up roughly three-fourths of total stream channel length in Amazon basin watersheds. The importance of this phenomenon and its effect on N transport to larger rivers across the larger areas of the Amazon Basin will depend on better evaluation of both the extent and the scale at which stream infilling by grass occurs, but our analysis suggests the phenomenon is widespread.

Keywords

15Ammonium uptake length Brazil Nitrification Nitrogen cycling Pasture Stable isotopes Stream ecosystem Tropical forest 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the late João Arantes, Jr. and his family of Fazenda Nova Vida who granted us access to their private land and facilities. Special thanks to Wanderley Zucoloto (Ranch Manager) and José “Zezinho” Rodriques (Assistant Manager) and Keila Aires (LBA Program) for logistical support. We thank M. Bolson, A. C. Bonilla, A. C. Cordeiro-Duarte, G. Dri, A. Fonseca-Gessner, B. M. Gomes, S. Lampert, N. K. Leite, S. G. Neto, J. P. Ometto, J. Rodriques, T. Sequeira, D. Victoria, and W. Zucoloto for help with fieldwork, M. Moreira and J. P. Ometto for assistance with isotope analyses and B. J. Peterson for his advice at all stages of this study. This work was supported by grants from the NASA Large-Scale Biosphere and Atmosphere Experiment (NCC5-686), the National Science Foundation (DEB-0315656) and the Fundação de Ámparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo.

Supplementary material

10533_2010_9540_MOESM1_ESM.doc (68 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 69 kb)

References

  1. Agostinho AA, Thomaz SM, Gomes LC (2005) Conservation of the biodiversity of Brazil’s inland waters. Conserv Biol 19:646–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander RB, Smith RA, Schwarz GE (2000) Effect of stream channel size on the delivery of nitrogen to the Gulf of Mexico. Nature 403:758–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allan JD (2004) Landscapes and riverscapes: the influence of land use on stream ecosystems. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:257–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arango CP, Tank JL (2008) Land use influences spatiotemporal controls on nitrification and denitrification in headwater streams. J N Am Benthol Soc 27:90–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arango CP, Tank JL, Johnson LT, Hamilton SK (2008) Assimilatory uptake rather than nitrification and denitrification determines nitrogen removal patterns in streams of varying land use. Limnol Oceanogr 53:2558–2572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ashkenas LR, Johnson SL, Gregory SV, Tank JL, Wolheim WM (2004) A stable isotope tracer study of nitrogen uptake and transformation in an old-growth forest stream. Ecology 85:1725–1739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bagnold RA (1966) An approach of sediment transport model from general physics. US Geological Survey Prof Paper 422-JGoogle Scholar
  8. Ballester MVR, Victoria DC, Krusche AV, Coburn RL, Victoria RL, Richey JE, Logsdon MG, Mayorga E, Matricardi E (2003) A remote sensing/GIS-based template to understand the biogeochemistry of the Ji-Paraná river basin (western Amazônia). Remote Sens Environ 87:429–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barthem R (2004) Aquatic biota. In: Veríssimo A, Moreira A, Sawyer D, dos Santos I, Pinto LP (eds) Biodiversity in the Brazilian Amazon. Instituto Ecoambiental and Estação Liberdade, Belém, Brazil, pp 62–69Google Scholar
  10. Bastos TX, Diniz TDAS (1982) Avaliação de clima do Estado de Rondônia para desenvolvimento agrícola. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria, Centro de Pesquisa Agropecuária do Trópico Úmido (EMBRAPA-CPATU), Boletim de Pesquisa No. 44, Belém, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  11. Bernardes MC, Martinelli LC, Krusche AV, Gudeman J, Moreira M, Victoria RL, Ometto JPHB, Ballester MVR, Aufdenkampe AK, Richey JE, Hedges JI (2004) Riverine organic matter composition as a function of land use changes, southwest Amazon. Ecol Appl 14:S263–S279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Biggs TW, Dunne WT, Martinelli LA (2004) Natural controls and human impacts on stream nutrient concentrations in a deforested region of the Brazilian Amazon basin. Biogeochemistry 68:227–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brandes JA, McClain ME, Pimentel TP (1996) 15N evidence for the origin and cycling of inorganic nitrogen in a small Amazonian catchment. Biogeochemistry 34:45–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chaves J, Neill C, Germer S, Gouveia Neto S, Krusche AV, Castellanos Bonilla A, Elsenbeer H (2009) Nitrogen transformations in flowpaths leading from soils to streams in Amazon forest and pasture. Ecosystems 12:961–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Christensen PB, Mielsen LP, Sorensen J, Revsbech NP (1990) Denitrification in nitrate-rich streams: diurnal and seasonal variation related to benthic oxygen metabolism. Limnol Oceanogr 35:640–651CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Davidson EA, Carvalho CJR, Figueira AM, Ishida FY, Ometto JPHB, Nardoto GB, Sabá RT, Hayashi SN, Viera ICG, Martinelli LA (2007) Recuperation of nitrogen cycling in Amazonian forests following agricultural abandonment. Nature 447:995–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davies-Colley RJ (1997) Stream channels are narrower in pasture than in forest. N Z J Mar Freshw Res 31:599–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dodds WK, Evans-White MA, Gerlanc NM, Gray L, Gudder DA, Kemp MJ, Lopez AL, Mulholland PJ, Stagliano D, Strauss EA, Tank JL, Whiles MR, Wolheim WM (2000) Quantification of the nitrogen cycle in a prairie stream. Ecosystems 3:574–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eaton AD, Clesceri LS, Greenberg AE (1995) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 19th edn. American Public Health Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  20. Elser JJ, Bracken MES, Cleland EE, Gruner DS, Harpole WS, Hildenbrand H, Ngai JT, Seablom WE, Shurin JB, Smith JE (2007) Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 10:1135–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. EOS-Webster (2009) University of New Hampshire library of earth science data. http://eos-webster.sr.unh.edu/
  22. Fenchel T, King GM, Blackgurn TH (1998) Bacterial biogeochemistry: the ecophysiology of mineral cycling. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Fisher TR, Morrissey KM, Carlson PR, Alves LF, Melack JM, Carlson PR, Alves LF (1998) Nitrate and ammonium uptake by plankton in an Amazon River floodplain lake. J Plankton Res 10:7–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fittkau E-J (1967) On the ecology of Amazonian rain-forest streams. Atas do Simpósio a Biota Amazônica 3:97–108Google Scholar
  25. Germer S, Neill C, Vetter T, Chaves J, Krusche AV, Elsenbeer H (2009) Implications of long-term land-use change on the hydrology and solute budgets of small catchments in Rondônia (Brazil). J of Hydrol 364:349–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goulding M (1980) The fishes and the forest. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  27. Goulding M, Barthem R, Ferreira EJG (2003) The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon. Smithsonian Books, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  28. Green P, Vörösmarty CJ, Meybeck M, Galloway J, Peterson BJ (2004) Pre-industrial and contemporary fluxes of nitrogen through rivers; a global assessment based on typology. Biogeochemistry 68:71–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hall SJ, Matson PA (1999) Nitrogen oxide emissions after nitrogen additions in tropical forests. Nature 400:152–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hall RO Jr, Peterson BJ, Meyer JL (1998) Testing a nitrogen-cycling model of a forest stream by using a nitrogen-15 tracer addition. Ecosystems 1:283–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hamilton SK, Tank JL, Raikow DF, Wolheim WM, Peterson BJ, Webster JR (2001) Nitrogen uptake and transformation in a midwestern U.S. stream: a stable isotope enrichment study. Biogeochemistry 54:297–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hession WC, Pizzuto JE, Johnson TE, Horwitz RJ (2003) Influence of bank vegetation on channel morphology in rural and urban watersheds. Geology 31:147–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Holmes RM, McClelland JW, Sigman DM, Fry B, Peterson BJ (1998) Measuring 15N–NH4 + in marine, estuarine and fresh waters: an adaptation of the ammonia diffusion method for samples with low ammonium concentrations. Mar Chem 60:235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. INPE (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) (2010) Projeto PRODES: Monitoramento da floresta Amazônica Brasileira por satélite. São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil. www.obt.inpe.br/prodes. Accessed February 2010
  35. Junk WJ (1973) Investigations on the ecology and production biology of the floating meadows (Paspalum echinochloetum) on the middle Amazon. Part 2. The aquatic fauna of the root zone of floating vegetation. Amazoniana 4:9–102Google Scholar
  36. Junk WJ (ed) (1997) The Central Amazon floodplain: ecology of a pulsing system. Springer, Berlin, 525 ppGoogle Scholar
  37. Kemp MJ, Dodds WK (2001) Centimeter-scale patterns in dissolved oxygen and nitrification rates in a prairie stream. J N Am Benthol Soc 20:347–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lepers E, Lambin EF, Janetos AC, DeFries R, Achard F, Ramankutty N, Scholes RJ (2005) A synthesis of information on rapid land-cover change for the period 1981–2000. BioScience 55:115–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lowe-McConnell RH (1987) Ecological studies in tropical fish communities. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 382 ppGoogle Scholar
  40. Markewitz D, Davidson E, Moutinho P, Nepstad D (2004) Nutrient loss and redistribution after forest clearing on a highly weathered soil in Amazônia. Ecol Appl 14:S177–S199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Matson PA, McDowell WH, Townsend AR, Vitousek PM (1999) The globalization of N deposition: ecosystem consequences in tropical environments. Biogeochemistry 46:67–83Google Scholar
  42. Mayorga E, Aufdenkampe AK, Masiello CA, Krusche AV, Hedges JI, Quay PD, Richey JE, Brown TA (2005) Young organic matter as a source of carbon dioxide outgassing from Amazonian rivers. Nature 436:538–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McClain ME, Elsenbeer H (2001) Terrestrial inputs to Amazon streams and internal biogeochemical processing. In: McClain ME, Victoria RL, Richey JE (eds) The biogeochemistry of the Amazon basin. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 185–208Google Scholar
  44. Medina E, Bifano T, Delgado M (1976) Paspalum repens Berg., a truly aquatic C4 plant. Acta Cient Venez 27:258–260Google Scholar
  45. Melillo JM, Steudler PA, Feigl BJ, Neill C, Garcia-Montiel D, Piccolo MC, Cerri CC, Tian H (2001) Nitrous oxide emissions from forests and pastures of various ages in the Brazilian Amazon. J Geophys Res 106:34179–34188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Merriam JL, McDowell WH, Tank JL, Wolheim WM, Crenshaw CL, Johnson SL (2002) Characterizing nitrogen dynamics, retention and transport in a tropical rainforest stream using an in situ 15N addition. Freshw Biol 47:143–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Moraes JFL, Cerri CC, Melillo JM, Kicklighter D, Neill C, Skole DL, Steudler PA (1995) Soil carbon stocks of the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Soil Sci Soc Am J 59:244–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moraes JFL, Volkoff B, Cerri CC (1996) Soil properties under Amazon forest and changes due to pasture installation in Rondônia (Brazil). Geoderma 70:63–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mulholland PJ, Tank JL, Sanzone DM, Wolheim WM, Peterson BG, Webster JR, Meyer JL (2000) Nitrogen cycling in a forest stream determined by a 15N tracer addition. Ecol Monogr 70:471–493Google Scholar
  50. Mulholland PJ, Helton AM, Poole GC, Hall RO Jr, Hamilton SK, Peterson BJ, Tank JL, Ashkenas LR, Cooper LW, Dahm CN, Dodds WK, Findlay SEG, Gregory SV, Grimm NB, Johnson SL, McDowell WH, Meyer JL, Valett HM, Webster JR, Arango CP, Beaulieu JJ, Bernot MJ, Burgin AJ, Crenshaw CL, Johnson LT, Niederlehner BR, O’Brien JM, Potter JD, Sheibley RW, Sobota DJ, Thomas SM (2008) Stream denitrification across biomes and its response to anthropogenic nitrate loading. Nature 452:202–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Neill C, Piccolo MC, Steudler PA, Melillo JM, Feigl BJ, Cerri CC (1995) Nitrogen dynamics in soils of forests and active pastures in the western Brazilian Amazon Basin. Soil Biol Biochem 27:1167–1175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Neill C, Piccolo MC, Cerri CC, Steudler PA, Melillo JM (1996) Soil solution and nitrogen oxide losses during clearing of lowland Amazon forest for cattle pasture. Plant Soil 281:233–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Neill C, Piccolo MC, Cerri CC, Steudler PA, Melillo JM, Brito M (1997) Net nitrogen mineralization and net nitrification rates in soils following deforestation for pasture across the southwestern Brazilian Amazon Basin landscape. Oecologia 110:243–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Neill C, Deegan LA, Thomas SM, Cerri CC (2001) Deforestation for pasture alters nitrogen and phosphorus in small Amazonian streams. Ecol Appl 11:1817–1828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Neill C, Deegan LA, Thomas SM, Haupert CL, Krusche AV, Ballester VM, Victoria RL (2006) Deforestation alters channel hydraulic and biogeochemical characteristics of small lowland Amazonian streams. Hydrol Process 20:2563–2580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Peterson BJ, Wolheim WM, Mulholland PJ, Webster JR, Meyer JL, Tank JL, Martí E, Bowden WB, Valett HM, Hershey AE, McDowell WH, Dodds WK, Hamilton SK, Gregory SV, Morrall DD (2001) Control of nitrogen export from watersheds by headwater streams. Science 292:86–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Phillips DC, Newsome SD, Greg JW (2005) Combining sources in stable isotope mixing models: alternative methods. Oecologia 144:520–527. http://www.epa.gov/wed/pages/models/isotopes/isoerror1_04.htm Google Scholar
  58. Pires JM, Prance GT (1986) The vegetation types of the Brazilian Amazon. In: Prance GT, Lovejoy TE (eds) Key environments: Amazonia. Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK, pp 109–145Google Scholar
  59. Redfield AC (1958) The biological control of chemical factors in the environment. Am Sci 46:205–221Google Scholar
  60. Reynolds CS (1984) The ecology of freshwater phytoplankton. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 396 ppGoogle Scholar
  61. SAS Institute Inc (2002) SAS for Windows, v 9.1.3. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  62. Seitzinger SP (1988) Denitrification in freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems: ecological and geochemical significance. Limnol Oceanogr 33:702–704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sigman DM, Altabet MA, Michener R, McCorkle DC, Fry B, Holmes RM (1997) Natural abundance-level measurement of the nitrogen isotopic composition of oceanic nitrate: an adaptation of the ammonia diffusion method. Mar Chem 57:227–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Skole DS, Tucker C (1993) Tropical deforestation and habitat fragmentation in the Amazon: satellite data from 1978 to 1988. Science 260:1904–1910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Stream Solute Workshop (1990) Concepts and methods for assessing solute dynamics in stream ecosystems. J N Am Benthol Soc 9:95–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sweeney BW, Bott TL, Jackson JK, Kaplan LA, Newbold JD, Standley LJ, Hession WC, Horwitz RJ (2004) Riparian deforestation, stream narrowing, and loss of stream ecosystem services. Proc Natl Acad Sci 101:14132–14137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tank JL, Meyer JL, Sanzone DM, Mulholland PJ, Webster JR, Peterson BJ, Wolheim WM, Leonard NE (2000) Analysis of nitrogen cycling in a forest stream during autumn using a 15N-tracer addition. Limnol Oceanogr 45:1013–1029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Thomas SM, Neill C, Deegan LA, Krusche AV, Ballester VM, Victoria RL (2004) Influences of land use and stream size on particulate and dissolved materials in a small Amazonian stream network. Biogeochemistry 68:135–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Trimble SW (1997) Stream channel erosion and change resulting from riparian forests. Geology 25:467–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Vannote RL, Minshall GW, Cummins KW, Sedell JR, Cushing CE (1980) The river continuum concept. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 37:30–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Verchot LV, Davidson EA, Cattânio JH, Ackerman IL, Erickson HE, Keller M (1999) Land use change and biogeochemical controls of nitrogen oxide emissions from soils in eastern Amazonia. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 13:31–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vitousek PM (1984) Litterfall, nutrient cycling and nutrient limitation in tropical forests. Ecology 65:285–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Warwick JJ (1986) Diel variation of in-stream nitrification. Water Res 20:1325–1332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Webster JR, Mulholland PJ, Tank JL, Valett HM, Dodds WK, Peterson BJ, Bowden WB, Dahm CN, Findlay S, Gregory SV, Grimm NB, Hamilton SK, Johnson SL, Martí E, McDowell WH, Meyer JL, Morrall DD, Thomas SM, Wolheim WM (2003) Factors affecting ammonium uptake in streams—an inter-biome perspective. Freshw Biol 48:1329–1352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Welcomme RL (1985) River fisheries, Food and Agriculture Organization Fisheries Technical Paper 262. FAO, Rome, 330 ppGoogle Scholar
  76. Zar JH (1984) Biostatistical analysis, 2nd edn. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda A. Deegan
    • 1
  • Christopher Neill
    • 1
  • Christie L. Haupert
    • 1
    • 4
  • M. Victoria R. Ballester
    • 2
  • Alex V. Krusche
    • 2
  • Reynaldo L. Victoria
    • 2
  • Suzanne M. Thomas
    • 1
  • Emily de Moor
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.Laboratório de Análise Ambiental e Geoprocessamento, Centro de Energia Nuclear na AgriculturaUniversidade de São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.CH2M Hill Polar ServicesFairbanksUSA
  5. 5.Department of GeographyUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

Personalised recommendations