Table of Contents
ISRN Soil Science
Volume 2013, Article ID 348905, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/348905
Research Article

Carbon and Water in Upper Montane Soils and Their Influences on Vegetation in Southern Brazil

1Research and Development Assistance (APD/DMA), SANEPAR, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
2Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa Florestas), Colombo, PR, Brazil
3Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Received 25 November 2012; Accepted 3 January 2013

Academic Editors: P. Conte and W. Ding

Copyright © 2013 M. B. Scheer et al. 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.

Abstract

Considering the many environmental functions of the upper montane soils, the aims of this study were (1) to verify if the soils of upper montane forests and grasslands of Caratuva Peak (1850 m a.s.l.) have similar characteristics to those found in other highlands in southern and southeastern Brazil; (2) to reinforce the geomorphological and pedological factors that impose the establishment of each type of vegetation in these highlands; and (3) to estimate potential soil carbon stocks and potential soil water retention. Folic and haplic histosols were found in the grasslands, and dystrophic regosols were found in the forests. The soils were dystrophic, extremely acidic, and saturated with Al and total organic carbon. In contrast to the grasslands, the upper montane forests were prevalent in valleys and subjected to morphogenetic processes resulting in soils that contained thicker mineral horizons. The grasslands occupied ridges and divergent convex ramps, and the pedogenetic processes in these regions promoted thicker histic horizons. The potential water retention capacities were high and strongly related to the high porosities of histic horizons associated with the gleyic horizons. In particularly, the carbon stocks were two- to three-fold higher than those found in soil ecosystems from the same latitude but lower altitude.