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Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 685; doi:10.3390/su8070685

Changes in Erosion and Runoff due to Replacement of Pasture Land with Sugarcane Crops

1
Escuela de Agronomía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, San Francisco s/n, Quillota 2340025, Chile
2
Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos-SP 13566-590, Brazil
3
Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit, USDA-ARS, National Sedimentation Laboratory, Box 1157, Oxford, MS 38655, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Audrey L. Mayer
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 12 July 2016 / Accepted: 14 July 2016 / Published: 16 July 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1195 KB, uploaded 16 July 2016]   |  

Abstract

The planting of sugarcane crops has expanded in the last decade in the southeast of Brazil, mainly due to its use for biofuel production, such as ethanol. This expansion in the State of São Paulo has occupied land that was previously used for cattle production. The change in land use affects soil and water through changes in ground cover and disturbance associated with farming practices. The objective of the following study was to determine the impact on runoff and erosion resulting from the conversion of pastureland to sugarcane for biofuel production. Erosion plots measuring 100 m2 were built on a farm in Itirapina-SP, Brazil, on land with a slope gradient of 9% and soil composed of Quartz-sand Neosols (Typic quartzipsaments). The treatments were an 18-year old pasture and a new sugarcane plantation, with three replicates for each. After each rainfall episode, erosion and runoff were monitored during the first and second years after sugarcane was planted. The results show increased runoff and soil loss during the first year, though levels decreased in the second year when the sugarcane residue mulch ground cover increased. In addition, the necessary rainfall characteristics (e.g., intensity, duration) required to produce runoff and soil erosion were identified. View Full-Text
Keywords: sediment; land use; experimental plots; Brazil sediment; land use; experimental plots; Brazil
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Youlton, C.; Wendland, E.; Anache, J.A.A.; Poblete-Echeverría, C.; Dabney, S. Changes in Erosion and Runoff due to Replacement of Pasture Land with Sugarcane Crops. Sustainability 2016, 8, 685.

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