top of page

Eco-hydrological functions of riparian forests in landscape agricultural management intensity gradients

Period: 2014 - current

Coordinator: Silvio Frosini de Barros Ferraz

Members: Pedro Gerhard / Toby Alan Gardner / Luiz Antônio Martinelli / Walter de Paula Lima / Solange Filoso / Margareth Palmer / John Richardson / Siu Mui Tsai

Financing: FAPESP - Financial aid

Forest vegetation is the plant component with the greatest hydrological influence, which becomes the most important biotic component of the landscape for the conservation of hydrological processes in a watershed. In order to describe the role of the forest in hydrological processes, it is necessary to understand the specific functions that it can offer, which are part of the set of its ecosystem services. The riparian forest clearly plays an important role in guaranteeing some eco-hydrological processes that are fundamental for the conservation of water resources. However, our hypothesis is that riparian forests inserted in agroecosystems have a limited capacity to guarantee eco-hydrological processes, depending on their conservation status, proportion and intensity of management carried out in the agricultural/forest matrix. In this proposal we intend to investigate the role of riparian forests under different conditions in mitigating the effects of the agricultural/forest matrix. 3 study areas will be used in Piracicaba, Itatinga and Paragominas referring to the matrices of sugarcane, eucalyptus and pasture, where there is already infrastructure for collecting hydrological / ecological data in microbasins. The main mitigating functions of the riparian forest regarding the impacts of agricultural/forestry activities will be evaluated. Thus, in sugarcane, the entry of nutrients and sediments will be evaluated, in the eucalyptus matrix, the hydrological regulation and sediment dynamics will be evaluated, and in the pasture, the entry of organic material into the aquatic ecosystem. In all matrices, the metabolism of the stream will be evaluated, and other eco-hydrological functions will be evaluated in the different ecosystems seeking to understand the performance of the riparian forest in each matrix, as well as to elaborate a theoretical model on the capacity of mitigating the effects of the matrix in as a function of increased management intensity. The results may be useful to better understand the role of riparian forests in agroecosystems and how legislation and forest restoration programs can contribute to mitigating the effects of the matrix. 

bottom of page