Agrarian Sciences Journal
Environmental diagnosis of water source in a Brazilian Cerrado watershed
Fernanda Laurinda Valadares Ferreira
*, Francielle de Cássia Coelho Vieira
, Izabelle de Paula Sousa
, Flávio
Pimenta de Figueiredo
, Leidivan Almeida Frazão
A lack of planning characterize the most demographic occupation process in Brazil, occurring in a disorderly manner
and with inappropriate occupations, resulting in damage to natural resources. This process is recurrent in the Cerrado
Biome, currently the agricultural frontier of the country. Thus, the objective of this work was to identify anthropic
activities and classify the conservation status in the headsprings (water sources) and surroundings areas of a water-
shed inserted in the Cerrado biome, besides proposing measures to prevent and control the different degradation
processes. From February to July 2016, visits were made to 37 headsprings and their surroundings, located in the
watershed of Santa de Minas River. Impacts of anthropic actions are identified directly or indirectly, classifying the
areas according to the state of conservation: preserved, anthropized and degraded. All visited places presented some
type of negative interference from human activities. The most frequent activities were unpaved roads, monoculture
of eucalyptus and cattle farming. According to the classification, only 6% of the areas are on preserved condition,
while 70% are anthropized and 24% degraded. The main types of found degradation were erosions in different sta-
ges, compaction and silting. In addition, no conservationist practices are present in the areas. Therefore, to reduce or
prevent future degradation in the watershed, it proposed some mitigating actions, such as the isolation of headsprings
and their surroundings, adaptation of roads and eucalyptus plantation areas, and maintenance of preservation areas.
Key words: Anthropic activities. Degradation conditions. Mitigating actions.
Diagnóstico ambiental de nascentes em uma bacia hidrográfica do Cerrado brasileiro
O processo de ocupação demográfica no Brasil em sua maioria é caracterizado pela falta de planejamento, ocorren-
do de forma desordenada e com ocupações inadequadas, resultando em danos aos recursos naturais. Este processo
é recorrente no Bioma Cerrado, atualmente a fronteira agrícola do país. Assim, objetivou-se com este trabalho,
identificar as atividades antrópicas e classificar o estado de conservação nas áreas de nascentes e entorno de uma
bacia hidrográfica inserida no bioma Cerrado, e propor medidas para prevenir e controlar os diferentes processos
de degradações. No período de fevereiro a julho de 2016, foram realizadas visitas em 37 nascentes e seus entornos,
localizadas na bacia do rio Santa Fé de Minas. Foram identificados impactos das ações antrópicas de forma direta ou
indireta, classificando as áreas de acordo com o estado de conservação: preservada, antropizada e degradada. Todos
os locais visitados possuíam algum tipo de interferência negativa proveniente de atividades antrópicas. As atividades
de maior recorrência foram estradas não pavimentadas, monocultivo de eucalipto e bovinocultura. De acordo com a
Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamento de Engenharia Agrícola. Viçosa, MG. Brasil.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias. Montes Claros, MG. Brasil.
Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamento de Engenharia Agrícola. Viçosa, MG. Brasil.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias. Montes Claros, MG. Brasil.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias/ Montes Claros, MG. Brasil.
*Autora para correspondência:
Recebido para publicação em 19 de maio de 2020. Aceito para publicação em 13 de setembro 2020
e-ISSN: 2447-6218 / ISSN: 2447-6218 / © 2009, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Todos os direitos reservados.
Ferreira, F. L. V. et al.
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 12, p. 01–11,
classificação, apenas 6% das áreas foram classificadas como preservadas, enquanto 70% estavam antropizadas e 24%
degradadas. Os principais tipos de degradações encontrados foram erosões em diferentes estágios, compactação e
assoreamento. Além disso, foi constatado que nenhuma prática conservacionista é adotada nas áreas. Portanto, para
reduzir ou evitar futuras degradações na bacia foram propostas medidas mitigadoras, como o isolamento das nas-
centes e seu entorno, adequação de estradas e áreas de plantio de eucalipto, e manutenção das áreas de preservação.
Palavras-chave: Atividades antrópicas. Condições de degradação. Ações mitigadoras.
In the last decades, the demand for natural re-
sources has been increasing in a worrying way, due to the
demand being greater than the capacity to replace the
resources. Population growth, coupled with the growth of
industries and agriculture, provides socio-environmental
damage, when they occur without planning (Ferreira et
al., 2015; Mota et al., 2016; Silva et al., 2016).
Environmental or urban population growth
generally occurs in a disorderly manner and without
planning, reflecting in occupations of inadequate areas
(Ferreira et al., 2015). In the Brazilian territory, this
occupation process occurs sharply, associated with the
lack of management, destruction of riparian forests and
areas of permanent preservation (APP’s), resulting in the
deterioration of natural resources (Garcia et al., 2015;
Mendes et al., 2016).
According to Garcia et al. (2015), for the study of
watersheds, it is necessary to analyze APP’s. The natural
characteristics of Brazilian watersheds change due to
anthropic activities, especially in micro-watersheds (small
watershed), where streams show signs of deterioration
(Ferreira et al., 2015). Inappropriate use and occupation
of the areas on hillsides and river margins generally cause
environmental impacts of high magnitude in watersheds,
causing socio-environmental problems (Albuquerque et
al., 2017).
The knowledge linked to the preservation of
headsprings (water sources) in the watershed, is extre-
mely important for the maintenance of watercourses. The
headsprings concentrate on slopes, in the depressions of
land, or at the base level of the local watercourse (Ga-
latto et al., 2011). They are classified according to their
flow as perennial (they manifest throughout the year,
but with flow variations), temporary (manifest during
the rainy season, and disappear in the dry season) and
ephemeral (temporary, only when rain occurs) (Palivoda
and Povaluk, 2015).
According to CONAMA Resolution 303/2002,
the headsprings are natural water outcrops of groun-
dwater, which are preservation areas. The vegetation
protection in headsprings is extremely important, due
to their performance, as an obstacle for surface runoff,
favoring the infiltration of water in the soil profile and
reducing the risks of erosion (Silva et al., 2018). The
Brazilian Forest Code - Law 12.651/12 (Brasil, 2012)
considers APP’s as “the areas around the headsprings
and perennial water eyes, whatever their topographic
situation, within a minimum radius of 50 (fifty) meters”.
Thus, the headsprings and their surrounding vegetation
are protected due to their fragility and usefulness (Silva
Junior et al., 2015).
Occupation that occurs in a disorderly manner
and in areas of environmental protection such as the top
of hills, slopes and margins of water courses has beco-
me a problem, as it can cause the destruction of legal
reserve areas, APP’s, among others (Mota et al., 2016).
The disobedience of the legislation in the areas of APP’s
together with inadequate land use and coverage, poses
risks to the quality and quantity of water resources, since
it alters the river dynamics and the runoff (Garcia et al.,
2015; Moura et al., 2017).
For recovery and preservation of these places,
it is necessary to carry out an environmental diagnosis
(Mota et al., 2016), which consists of interpreting the
current situation in which the environment of a given
area is found, thus seeking to know its components (Sil-
va et al., 2018). According to Garcia et al. (2015), the
environmental diagnosis of land use and coverage with
the use of geotechnologies allows an integrated analysis
of the environment based on the obtained information.
The Cerrado biome is the second largest in Bra-
zil, occupying an area of approximately 24%, and it is
considered the richest savanna in the world (Aguiar et
al., 2016), with a high endemism index (Calaça et al.,
2018). Due to its extension, the Cerrado presents transi-
tion zones with almost all other national biomes, being
responsible for the formation of the main Brazilian rivers
(Aguiar et al., 2016). This biome has been considered,
since the 1970s, the main agricultural frontier area in
the country, being responsible for about 70% of national
food production (Silva et al., 2015a).
Changes in land use and coverage from the ad-
vancement of anthropic actions, with the suppression of
native vegetation areas, can cause changes in hydrological
regimes in river watersheds (Ferreira et al., 2020). The-
refore, the objective of this work was to identify anthro-
pic activities and classify the conservation status in the
areas of headsprings and their surroundings, located at
Environmental diagnosis of water source in a Brazilian Cerrado watershed
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 12, p. 01–11,
a watershed inserted in the Cerrado Biome, and propose
actions to prevent and control the different degradation
Material e methods
The environmental diagnosis was carried out in
the watershed of the Santa Fé de Minas River, in Santa
de Minas County, located in the Pirapora micro-region
and meso-region of Northern Minas Gerais. The water-
shed under study drains an area of approximately 1,470
km², which is a sub-watershed of the Paracatu river and,
according to the division of the watershed committees,
belongs to the watershed of São Francisco river (Figure
1), framing the SF7 committee - Paracatu (IGAM, 2006).
Figure 1 – Watershed of the Santa Fé de Minas River, Minas Gerais, Brazil
The predominant biome characteristic of the
region under study is the Cerrado. According to IBGE
(2010), the county Santa Fé de Minas has an area equi-
valent to 2,917.45 km², with an altitude of about 500 m,
a population of approximately 4,000 inhabitants, with
agriculture being the main economic activity.
According to the climatic classification of Köppen
(Köppen, 1936), Aw is the predominant climate in the
watershed region, a tropical climate with dry winter, rainy
season in summer, between the months of November and
April, and dry season in winter, from May to October,
being July the driest month.
For collection and analysis of data related to the
headsprings environmental diagnosis, field visits were
carried out between the months of February and July
2016, which consisted of identifying the impacts that
occurred on the analyzed area and the actions interaction
that impacted the place (site) directly and indirectly.
During expeditions through the watershed,
evaluations were carried out in 37 headsprings and in
their surroundings, which were georeferenced using
a GPS device (Global Positioning System) (Figure 1).
The identification of the headsprings and the respective
coordinates are shown in Table 1.
In all the visited places (sites), annotations were
made about the conservation current state of the heads-
prings and their surrounding areas, in addition to photo-
graphic records for eventual consultations and proof of
the anthropic changes incidence. The headsprings were
classified as proposed by Pinto (2003), and adaptations
were made. The classification took place as follows:
a) Preserved: headsprings with native vegetation
and without human intervention evidence;
b) Anthropized: native vegetation in the heads-
prings and their surroundings, with anthropic interven-
tion; and
c) Degraded: areas with little or no native ve-
getation, highly compacted soil or with erosion in an
advanced state, and silted watercourses.
Ferreira, F. L. V. et al.
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 12, p. 01–11,
Table 1 – Identification and location of the visited headsprings (water sources) in the watershed of Santa Fé de Minas
river, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Headspring Popular Names Geographic Coordinates
1 Córrego do Frade S 16°50’15,5” W 45° 34’31,1”
2 Cabeceira do Areal S 16°48’56,8” W 45°35’38,1”
3 Nascente da Lagartixa S 16°4’32,7” W 45°37’37,7”
4 Vereda Comprida S 16°50’12,1” W 45°43’5,9”
5 Nascente do Buraco S 16°47’29,2” W 45°35’41,5”
6 Nascente do Mandu S 16°47’44” W 45°37’54,9”
7 Nascente do Riachão S 16°50’17,2” W 45°40’41,7”
8 Nascente Ponte Pedra S 16°49’43,2” W 45°38’54,2”
9 Nascente Riachão das Pedra S 16°49’59,6” W 45°35’54,2”
10 Nascente Cabeceira 3 da Extrema S 16°51’21,1” W 45°44’30,9”
11 Nascente Bacia do Extrema S 16°51’7,1” W 45°44’38,9”
12 Vereda Grande S 16°49’46,7” W 45°45’19,8”
13 Cabeceira da Serrinha S 16°52’36,3” W 45°44’28,1”
14 Cabeceira da Vereda Grande S 16°50’39,5” W 45°45’52,7”
15 Cabeceira de Marotim S 16°52’54,1” W 45°43’33,3”
16 Cabeceira da Extrema S 16°53’1,8” W 45°43’20”
17 Galho da Passagem da Clauzi S 16°53’39,3” W 45°43’5,8”
18 Galho da Serrinha S 16°51’51,8” W 45°44’36,8”
19 Nascente do Córrego das Lages S 16° 42’ 50,7” W 45° 35’ 3,4’’
20 Nascente das Águas Vertentes Lavado S 16° 42’ 50,7” W 45° 35’ 3,4’’
21 Nascente da Fuga S 16° 42’ 51,2” W 45° 35’ 26,2’’
22 Vereda Brejo do Arroz S 16° 43’ 32,3” W 45° 36’ 53,2’’
23 Nascente do Cedro S 16° 42’ 27,7” W 45° 36’ 6,6’’
24 Nascente do Caju S 16° 43’ 32,3” W 45° 36’ 53,2’’
25 Nascente 1 da Vereda do Inferno S 16° 41’ 3,8” W 45° 44’ 7,2’’
26 Nascente 1 do Lavado S 16° 40’ 28,0” W 45° 41’ 38,2’’
27 Nascente 2 da vereda do inferno S 16° 41’ 35,2” W 45° 43’ 8’’
28 Nascente 2 do Lavado S 16° 40’ 16,7” W 45° 41’ 45,9’’
29 Nascente 3 do Lavado S 16° 40’ 48,1” W 45° 42’ 29,4’’
30 Nascente 4 do Lavado S 16° 40’ 54,4” W 45° 42’ 34,7’’
31 Nascente Cabeceira do São Gregório S 16° 40’ 54,4” W 45° 41’ 33,2’’
32 Nascente Meio do Lavado S 16° 40’ 13,4” W 45° 42’ 34,7’
33 Nascente Principal do Lavado S 16° 40’ 11,6” W 45° 43’ 50,4’’
34 Nascente Vereda do Inferno S 16° 41’ 15,1” W 45° 45’ 1,7’’
35 Nascente do Lavado S 16° 40’ 54,8” W 45° 43’ 42,6’’
36 Nascente Brejo vereda S 16° 39’ 42,7” W 45° 22’ 35,3’’
37 Nascente do Mucambo S 16° 39’ 33,4” W 45° 22’ 41,3’’