Intensive soil use without a management plan based on its structures and limitations is the main cause of soil erosion and degradation. The physical properties changes of a studied agricultural area are evaluated by comparing with an area that did not suffer any modification caused by human activities, which is considered the ideal soil condition. This research evaluated the alterations in the hydro-physical properties and the organic carbon content of a Eutrophic Yellow Oxysol under different use and management systems in the Triângulo Mineiro, an important agriculture region in Brazil. The systems studied were, Cerrado with typical stricto sensu vegetation preserved for over 30 years; eucalyptus planted about 30 years ago, without fertilizer or cultivation since the implantation period; corn grown under the no tillage system intercropped with pasture; and Brachiaria sp. under no-tillage intercropped with corn, managed with cattle and annually fertilized with turkey litter. The soil bulk density, total porosity, size distribution of the pores, flocculation degree, geometric mean diameter, water infiltration and organic carbon were evaluated. The effects of land use and management system alterations on soil physical properties were similar at both depths, except the geometric mean diameter, which was higher in the surface layer. The eucalyptus and no-tillage systems with corn and pasture recovered the soil organic carbon contents as compared to the preserved Cerrado area, which was more significant in the surface layer. The soil with native Cerrado vegetation presented faster infiltration in relation to other systems followed by, in descending order, the areas planted with eucalyptus, pasture and corn. The infiltration rate and cumulative infiltration curves were similar to values obtained in the field.
Key words: Management systems, no-tillage, soil structure, water infiltration.
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