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The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin$
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Michael E. McClain, Reynaldo Victoria, and Jeffrey E. Richey

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195114317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195114317.001.0001

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The Atmospheric Component of Biogeochemical Cycles in the Amazon Basin

The Atmospheric Component of Biogeochemical Cycles in the Amazon Basin

(p.42) 3 The Atmospheric Component of Biogeochemical Cycles in the Amazon Basin
The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin

Paulo Artaxo

Oxford University Press

Tropical forests, with their high biological activity, have the potential to emit large amounts of trace gases and aerosol particles to the atmosphere. The accelerated development and land clearing that is occurring in large areas of the Amazon basin suggest that anthropogenic effects on natural biogeochemical cycles are already occurring (Gash et al. 1996). The atmosphere plays a key role in this process. The tropics are the part of the globe with the most rapidly growing population, the most dramatic industrial expansion and the most rapid and pervasive change in land use and land cover. Also the tropics contain the largest standing stocks of terrestrial vegetation and have the highest rates of photosynthesis and respiration. It is likely that changes in tropical land use will have a profound impact on the global atmosphere (Andreae 1998, Andreae and Crutzen 1997). A significant fraction of nutrients are transported or dislocated through the atmosphere in the form of trace gases, aerosol particles, and rainwater (Keller et al. 1991). Also the global effects of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other trace gases have in the forest ecosystems a key partner. The large emissions of isoprene, terpenes, and many other volatile organic compounds could impact carbon cycling and the production of secondary aerosol particles over the Amazon region. Vegetation is a natural source of many types of aerosol particles that play an important role in the radiation budget over large areas (Artaxo et al. 1998). There are 5 major reservoirs in the Earth system: atmosphere, biosphere (vegetation, animals), soils, hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, rivers, groundwater), and the lithosphere (Earth crust). Elemental cycles of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and other elements interact with the different reservoirs of the Earth system. The carbon cycle has important aspects in tropical forests due to the large amount of carbon stored in the tropical forests and the high rate of tropical deforestation (Jacob 1999). In Amazonia there are two very different atmospheric conditions: the wet season (mostly from November to June) and the dry season (July-October) (see Marengo and Nobre, this volume). Biomass burning emissions dominate completely the atmospheric concentrations over large areas of the Amazon basin during the dry season (Artaxo et al. 1988).

Keywords:   acetate, bacteria, carbon dioxide, dissolved organic compounds, fungi, industrial expansion, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone budget, protozoa

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