Spatial distribution of the litter carbon stock in the Cerrado biome in Minas Gerais state, Brazil

ABSTRACT Litter corresponds to the layer of decomposing dead organic matter present on the soil surface. This layer is very important for nutrient cycling and contributes with organic matter accumulation in the soil, besides the carbon stock. The objective herein was to quantify the carbon biomass, both content and stock, and map the litter C-stock in the Cerrado biome, which is formed by Savanna Grassland (SG), Cerrado Stricto Sensu (CE) and Forest Savanna (FS), in Minas Gerais state, southeastern Brazil. The data were collected in 26 fragments in Minas Gerais state, totaling 210 sampling locations. A variographic study was conducted and, for mapping, the ordinary kriging method was used for delimitation of homogeneous zones. It was possible to detect high variability in the carbon biomass, carbon content and C-stock in the Cerrado biome litter in Minas Gerais state. The carbon content presented lower variability, ranging from 40 to 44%, so that it is not responsible for explaining the variability of the litter C-stock. Savanna Grassland and Savanna Forest present, respectively, the lowest and highest C-stocks. C-stock presented a considerable spatial structure dependence, allowing to use the geostatistical procedures for mapping it in the Cerrado biome of the Minas Gerais state. The C-stock kriging map showed good accuracy, allowing to verify that the lowest C-stocks in the litter are found from the center to the northern of the Minas Gerais since the highest air temperatures are also verified in this direction.