Soil fertility, mineral nitrogen, and microbial biomass in upland soils of the Central Amazon under different plant covers

A. Moreira, N. K. Fageria, Axel Garcia y Garcia

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19 Scopus citations


Amazon is the largest state in Brazil and majority of the state is covered by the largest tropical rainforest of the world. Most soils of the Amazon region soils are acidic and infertile. When the Amazon forest land is cleared for agricultural use by burning the vegetation, the efficient nutrient recycling mechanisms are disrupted. However, nutrient contents in the deforested burn land increased temporarily. The objective of this study was to evaluate the soil fertility, mineral nitrogen (N), and microbial activity of carbon (C), N, and phosphorus (P) resulting from the replacement of the primary forest with pasture (Brachiaria brizantha) and commercial plantations of rubber (Hevea spp.), cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), and citrus trees (Citrus sinensis) cultivated in Xanthic Ferralsol and secondary forest under Acrisols Dystric Nitosols. The results showed that ammonium-N predominates in the 0- to 10-cm soil depth in both primary forest and areas with secondary forest, citrus plantation, and pasture. There was no increase in soil fertility with management of the cultivated areas under the secondary forest, but in the pasture there was a significant increase in the stock of organic C and total N and high C/N ratios, the inverse of what occurred with the C of the microbial biomass. The primary forest had the greatest values of C and P of the microbial biomass and the lowest metabolic quotient. Of the successions studied, the rubber trees were the plant cover with the smallest changes in terms of quality of the organic matter in the soil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-705
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank EMBRAPA Western Amazon (CPAA, Manaus) for providing facilities to conduct field experiments and chemical analysis of the soil samples and the National Research Council (CNPq) of Brazil for the research grant provided to the first author.


  • Amazon forest
  • Carbon cycle
  • Nitrogen mineralization
  • Pasture
  • Plantation crops


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