Evapotranspiration and gross primary productivity of secondary vegetation in Amazonia inferred by eddy covariance

Rita de Cassia Silva von Randow*, Javier Tomasella, Celso von Randow, Alessandro Carioca de Araújo, Antonio Ocimar Manzi, Ronald Hutjes, Bart Kruijt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The conversion of primary forest (PF) to other types of land cover, such as pasture and agriculture, in Amazonia, affects regional carbon and water balances, significantly contributing to increased carbon emissions and reduced evapotranspiration. However, secondary forest (SF) growth, resulting from the abandonment of low-productivity pasture areas, offers a potential alternative to counterbalance the effects of deforestation on carbon release to the atmosphere and evapotranspiration reduction. In this work, we present four years of eddy flux measurements of a SF that is approximately 20 years old, located in Central Amazonia, and we compare these measurements with those of a PF in the same region, analyzing daily and seasonal variations in evapotranspiration, gross primary productivity of carbon and water use efficiency. On average, evapotranspiration is 20% higher in the SF (3.6 mm day−1) than in the PF (3.1 mm day−1), while gross primary productivity is only 5% higher in the SF (8.1 gC m−2 day−1) than in the PF (7.8 gC m−2 day−1). Despite robust evidence of higher evapotranspiration and gross primary productivity in SF, the estimated uncertainty range of WUE is large to reach definite conclusions about the differences on carbon gain per water loss between the sites. Nonetheless, the significantly higher evapotranspiration and gross primary productivity of SF may counterbalance both water and C losses from deforestation and has important implications for regional budgets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108141
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020


  • Evapotranspiration
  • Gross primary productivity
  • Land cover change
  • Secondary growth
  • Water use efficiency

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