Solar energy budgets in central Amazonian ecosystems: a comparison between natural forest and bare soil areas
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In order to estimate the deforestation consequences on the actual solar energy budget of the Central Amazon Region, two ecosystems of different characteristics were compared. The present conditions of the region were represented by a typical 'terra firme' forest cover located at INPA's Ducke Forest Reserve, where the measurements necessary to evaluate its solar energy balance were carried out. The second ecosystem, simulating a deforested area, was represented by an area about 1.0 ha without natural vegetation and situated in the same Reserve. In this area lysimeters were placed, two of them filled with yellow latosol and two others with quartzose sand soil. Both soils are representative soils in the region. Their water balances were taken into account as well as the other parameters necessary to compute the solar energy balances. The results showed that water loss by evaporation was about 41.8% of the total precipitation in the yellow latosol lysimeters and about 26.4% for the quartzose sand ones. For the forest cover it was estimated an evapotranspiration of 67.9% of the rainfall amount. In relation to solar energy balance calculated for the forest cover, it was found that 83.1% of the total energy incoming to this ecosystem was used by the evapotranspiration process, while the remaining of 16.9% can be taken as sensible heat. For bare soils, 55.1% and 31.8% of the total energy were used as latent heat by yellow latosol and quartzose sand soils, respectively. So, the remaining amounts of 44.9% and 68.2% were related to sensible heat and available to atmospheric air heating of these ecosystems. Such results suggest that a large deforestation of the Amazon Region would have direct consequences on their water and solar radiation balances, with an expected change on the actual climatic conditions of the region. © 1993.