Pedological aspects as environmental quality indicators of a touristic trail in the Serra do Cipó National Park/MG

Abstract Soil provides important support for anthropogenic activities, and earthen trails, which have always been present in the natural landscape, are routes of access to various tourist attractions. In recent decades, trails have been widely used as a method of access and visitation to geotouristic attractions. Because trails are restricted routes, transit along these paths also transforms the route into a pathway for the spread of various negative environmental impacts, including compaction and soil erosion of the trailbed. Soil compaction is caused by changes in the soil structure that are partly induced by the use of agricultural or geotechnical machinery and traffic, and the damage is also manifested in a remarkable decrease in porosity, which has clear implications for the infiltration and percolation of water and air associated with the functional porosity of soil. Soil micromorphological characteristics contribute to the analysis of soil porous systems, and the macroporous characteristics visible at this scale include the size, shape and connectivity among voids, which can be studied using different methods of identification, measurement and interpretation. Such methods are applied to understand the pore genesis and, more importantly, the physical behavior of soil-water order management. This work presents the results of analyses of the macromorphological and micromorphological characteristics, porosity, texture and penetrometry resistance of soil profiles on the Farofa Waterfall trail in the Serra do Cipó National Park, and the aim is to provide recommendations for compaction studies along special trails. The results showed that most of the trailbed is more compressed than at the margins, which suggests the need for geoindicator studies of soil quality to monitor the visitation of the trail and improve the conservation of natural resources.