Deforestation modifying terrestrial organic transport in the Rio Tapajs, Brazilian Amazon Academic Article uri icon


  • The concentration and biomarker compositions of sedimentary organic matter (OM) as well as fine and coarse suspended particles were analysed to identify the impact of deforestation on the transport of terrigenous organic matter (OM) in the Rio Tapajs, a major tributary to the Amazon. Substantial shifts in the concentration and composition of recently deposited sedimentary OM suggest that intensive deforestation over the last few decades has considerably modified the natural inputs of sedimentary materials to the aquatic ecosystems by disrupting the terrigenous fluxes of humus and soil materials from the drainage basin. The observed compositional changes of bulk OM and land derived biomarkers (e.g. lignin) in recent sediments illustrate a sedimentary enrichment in OM from soil horizons that, under normal forest cover, tend to be retained in the drainage basin. On average, the recently accumulated OM is nitrogen-rich ((C/N)a = 12-15) and more highly degraded ((Ac/Al)v = 0.4-0.6 and DHBA/V = 0.15-0.20) than deep materials ((C/N)a = 20-30, (Ac/Al)v = 0.25-0.4, and DHBA/V = 0.05-0.10), showing that this recently accumulated material is more humified than original inputs to the aquatic system, and consistent with increased exportation of fine eroded mineral and organic particles from surface soils along river banks. The present study illustrates the relevance of using OM oxidation products in sediment profiles to evaluate deforestation impacts on aquatic ecosystems and to characterize the nature of eroded soil materials, complementing studies on mineral/metal cycling. 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Organic Geochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Farella, N., Lucotte, M., Louchouarn, P., & Roulet, M.

complete list of authors

  • Farella, N||Lucotte, M||Louchouarn, P||Roulet, M

publication date

  • January 1, 2001 11:11 AM