Evaluation of soil water storage in native forest and eucalyptus áreas

<div><p>Abstract In the region of the Paraíba do Sul river valley in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, pasture areas have been replaced by eucalyptus plantations, which can modify the dynamics of water in the soils of the region. The objective of this work was to evaluate the behavior of water in a Red-Yellow Latosol in two vegetative coverings, a six-year-old eucalyptus plantation, and a native forest, in the process of regeneration which began twenty years ago. The study was developed in the Una River basin from June 2009 to April 2011. The soil water potential was measured by 96 sensors (Watermark ™) at the depths of 20, 60 and 120 cm. The Available Water Capacity (AWC) and weekly residual soil storage for each layer were calculated. It was observed that the three layers reacted to the processes of rainfall and evapotranspiration and that there was a difference between the storage of water in the soil in the eucalyptus and native forest areas. There was no water restriction in the studied period; however, the variations in native forest storage were smoother than the variations occurring for eucalyptus. In the mean of the whole period and for the three layers, the storage in the native forest and eucalyptus were 88% and 64% of Available Water Capacity (AWC = 183 mm), respectively. These results show the native forest water conservation capacity in watersheds.</p></div>