EVOLUTION PATTERNS OF THE SOIL ORGANIC-MATTER IN SOME AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS IN THE BRAZILIAN CERRADO REGION
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Several changes in the soil humus characteristics were observed after clearing the Central Brazil virgin forest. When compared with the original ''Cerrado'' forest, the soils from the agricultural systems showed increased values for cation exchange capacity, total organic matter and non-extractable humin. The humic acid fraction underwent some changes suggesting increased oxidation and decreased aliphatic content. The soil organic N tends to accumulate in the insoluble humus fractions.The above changes were much less intense when the virgin forest was transformed into pastures. Under these conditions, the most significant changes were the reduction of readily biodegradable soil organic matter fractions.In view of the intensity of the lixiviation processes in the area studied, the above changes may be connected with the reduction in aggregate stability observed in the cleared sites.In general, the characteristics of the humus formations in the ''Cerrado'' region suggested high resistance to external factors, which is in part attributed to the active insolubilization of humic colloids by the Al and Fe oxides. In the absence of erosive processes in the cleared sites, additional humus stability may conform both to selective biodegradation and/or lixiviation of the humic colloids, or to the effects of the fire used in soil management.