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New measurement tower in Brazilian soybean field
March 13, 2015



Lefthand: power supply with solar panels, righthand. the measurement tower; picture author: Martin Hertel
Tanguro is situated in the southeast of Mato Grosso at the border of the Amazon rainforest, a region particularly threatened by deforestation, forest fires and climate change. Intensive land use in this area exerts a great influence on the vegetation, the water and the nutrient availability. Susan Trumbore and her team, in partnership with Paulo Brando and the IPAM colleagues, investigate the impact of agriculture on the regional climate with a focus on the water cycle.

Within the past two weeks both groups have worked hard to set up the new tower in a soybean field. This new tool complements the already existing two towers in the rainforest close-by. All stations collect real-time data on respiration and photosynthesis of the vegetation, as well as multiple water and soil parameters. The collected data will help to elucidate the role of forests in stabilizing the climate.

The new tower has a special feature: it can be tipped over. The soybean cultures are regularly sprayed with insecticides and a pesticide which is done by a small plane flying about three meters above the plants. During this procedure the tower is turned over to avoid potential interferences with the flight. Electricity for the instrumentation is provided by solar energy.

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