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Changes in Physical and Biological Soil Quality Indicators in a Tropical Crop System (Havana, Cuba) in Response to Different Agroecological Management Practices

AuthorsIzquierdo, I.; Caravaca Ballester, María Fuensanta ; Alguacil García, María del Mar ; Roldán Garrigos, Antonio
Enzymatic activities
Microbial biomass
Aggregate stability
Issue DateOct-2003
CitationEnvironmental Management 32(5): 639-645 (2003)
AbstractThe objective of our study was to assess the response of physical (aggregate stability and bulk density) and biological (enzyme activities and microbial biomass) soil quality indicators to the adoption of agroecological management practices, such as the planting of forage species (forage area) and the rotation of local crops (polycrop area), carried out in a representative tropical pasture on an integrated livestock–crop farm. The pasture system was used as control (pasture area). In all three areas, the values of water-soluble C were higher in the rainy season compared to the dry season. Pasture and forage areas had the highest percentage of stable aggregates in the rainy season, while polycrops developed soils with less stable aggregates. Soil bulk density was lower in the pasture and forage areas than in the polycrop area. In the pasture area, the microbial biomass C values, dehydrogenase, urease, protease-BAA, acid phosphatase, and beta-glucosidase activities were higher than in the forage and polycrop areas, particularly in the dry season. The highest increase in the microbial biomass C in the rainy season, with respect to the dry season, was recorded in the pasture area (about 1.2-fold). In conclusion, the planting of forage species can be considered an effective practice for carrying out sustainable, integrated livestock–crop systems, due to its general maintenance of soil quality, while the adoption of polycrop rotations appears to be less favorable because it decreases soil quality.
Description7 pages, 3 tables.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-003-3034-2
Appears in Collections:(CEBAS) Artículos
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