Modelación de los cambios químicos en suelos inducidos por la forestación de pastizales naturales en ecosistemas de llanura

Modelación de los cambios químicos en suelos inducidos por la forestación de pastizales naturales en ecosistemas de llanura

Claudio R. Mujica, Germán M. Milione, Sergio A. Bea, Esteban G. Jobbágy

Resumen


El reemplazo de pastizales por forestaciones es uno de los cambios más extremos en el uso del suelo por su impacto en el suelo y en el funcionamiento de la vegetación. En los ecosistemas de llanuras, este cambio generó, en muchos casos, alteraciones químicas en los suelos como salinización, sodificación y alcalinización/acidificación. Si bien los procesos hídricos, químicos y biológicos que tienen lugar fueron extensamente caracterizados, debido al acoplamiento entre estos procesos y su no-linealidad, la tarea de cuantificarlos es difícil y, hasta el momento, no existen estudios que los hayan evaluado. El presente trabajo intenta caracterizar, mediante la modelación del transporte reactivo, los procesos físico-químicos que tienen lugar en un pastizal forestado con Eucalyptus camaldulensis en la Pampa Deprimida (Castelli, provincia de Buenos Aires). Para ello, se utilizó información hidrológica y química (agua, suelo y plantas). El modelo numérico simula los flujos de agua y las potenciales reacciones químicas en el contexto de reproducir 1) las alteraciones hidrológicas que causa la forestación y por 2) la intrusión de agua salina profunda, 3) la absorción y la exudación de nutrientes por las raíces, y 4) la respiración y el reciclaje de solutos. Los resultados de la modelación sugieren que factores como la composición química de la napa freática, el intercambio catiónico de los materiales del suelo con la solución del suelo, la precipitación/disolución de minerales y la interacción con la rizósfera (toma/exclusión/exudación de solutos) son los mecanismos dominantes que controlarían la dirección del cambio químico en el suelo (acidificación vs. alcalinización). Este cambio muestra contrastes marcados en distancias cortas (250 m) desde el pastizal, pasando por el margen, hasta el centro del sector forestado. Finalmente, la intensidad y la dirección de los cambios, y la transformación del suelo dependerá tanto del nuevo ecosistema que los humanos imponen como de la naturaleza química e hidrológica del sitio.

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