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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Print version ISSN 0100-0683
HICKMANN, Clério; COSTA, Liovando Marciano da; SCHAEFER, Carlos Ernesto G.R and FERNANDES, Raphael Bragança Alves. Morphology and stability of soil aggregates in a red yellow argisol under different management long-term and secondary atlantic forest. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2011, vol.35, n.6, pp.2191-2198. ISSN 0100-0683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832011000600034.
Long-term experiments testing different soil managements provide valuable information in the comparison of alterations in physical, chemical and biological soil properties with soil under natural vegetation. This long-term study was carried out to evaluate the external morphology and the stability of aggregates in the surface layer of a Yellowish-Red Argisol under different managements for comparison with secondary Atlantic Forest. Disturbed and undisturbed soil samples were collected from the 0-5 cm layer from soil under no-tillage (PD) and disk plow + disk harrow (AD + GP), as well as from a secondary Atlantic forest (MS) adjacent to the experimental area as a reference of the original soil aggregation. The undisturbed samples were resin-impregnated and cut in 30 µm thick slides, which were observed under an optical microscope with a digital camera. Images were taken from random sites of the thin sections and processed using Adobe Photoshop CS3 to measure parameters related to the external morphology of the aggregates, as follows: perimeter, area, the longest and shortest axis, Ferret diameter, elongation and roundness. These variables provide information about the aggregate size, shape and rugosity. Besides the aggregate stability in water, in the size classes - 4-2; 2-1; 1-0.5; 0.5-0.25; 0.25-0.105 and diameter < 0.105 mm, the total organic carbon (COT) was determined for the disturbed soil samples. The weighted and geometric mean diameters (DMP and DMG) as well as the aggregate stability index (IEA) were calculated. The 4-2 mm aggregate class predominated in both treatments and MS, but was higher in MS and PD soils. The DMG, DMP and IEA were similar in PD and MS, but higher than under AD + GP management. The no-tillage treatment (PD) resulted in morphological changes in the aggregates, compared to the AD + GP, tending to approach the properties of soil under MS.
Keywords : aggregation; no-tillage; tillage.