Revista Brasileira de Engenharia Agrícola e Ambiental
On-line version ISSN 1807-1929
MENDONCA, Luiz A. R. et al. Identification of forest changes using 13C and 15N of soils of the Araripe Plateau, Ceará. Rev. bras. eng. agríc. ambient. [online]. 2010, vol.14, n.3, pp. 314-319. ISSN 1807-1929. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-43662010000300012.
The organic matter (OM) of soils can be used as an auxiliary tool for the identification of past vegetation. In the Floresta Nacional do Araripe and its surroundings, on top of the Araripe Plateau, a study was made using measurements of d13C and d15N of soil OM in order to (i) assess present day values for these parameters; (ii) to analyse natural variations of d13C in soils from different formations of forest; (iii) and to indicate forest decline. It was found that soils from (at present) protected areas, the OM of which exhibits C3 type d13C of the present vegetation in surface samples but of the C3-C4 type in depth, correspond to ecosystems anthropized in the past through agriculture. Soils maintaining d13C of the C3 type throughout the entire profile refer to ecosystems anthropized through non-agricultural exploitation. "Caatinga" samples exhibit a d15N profile that indicates a soil more mineralized and with less OM, whereas reforested preserved areas show recovery of OM.
Keywords : National Forest of Araripe; isotope soil characterization; photosynthetic cycle; forest decline.