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Chemistry and Ecology
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 24  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 387 - 399

Biogeochemistry and cycling of zinc and copper in a dyked seasonally flooded savanna

Danilo Lopez-Hernandez    

Abstract: There is very little information on the cycling of heavy metals in natural savannas. Venezuelan flooded savannas are characterised by acid soils with redox conditions which might induce Zn and Cu solubilisation. In those flooded savannas a network of small dykes has been constructed to control floods. The biomass accretion after dyking and the abundance of clay particles in the vertisols, dominant in the overflow plains, might be responsible for an increase in nutrient uptake and immobilisation. Due to the redox and pH conditions prevailing during flooding, some questions arise on the fate of the heavy metals. Are they significantly lost as soluble and particulate forms, which in turn, can induce a potential risk of microelement deficiency? Or, on the contrary, are heavy metal inputs in precipitation waters retained somewhere in the terrestrial pools of the watershed allowing for an adequate micronutrient economy? By using input-output budgets, which consider the total atmospheric input and total output in stream runoff (soluble and particulate) for zinc and copper we concluded that in Mantecal flooded savannas, a net accumulation of micronutrient in soils is actually occurring through organic and inorganic complexes, a process that is counterbalanced by the losses of particulates through erosion.

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