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Superficial color patches as a visual diagnostic criterion for agricultural management

AuthorsCastañeda del Álamo, Carmen CSIC ORCID ; Moret-Fernández, David CSIC ORCID
KeywordsArid zones
Dryland cropping
Hydraulic conductivity
Soil mapping
Issue DateDec-2013
CitationCastañeda C, Moret-Fernández D. Superficial color patches as a visual diagnostic criterion for agricultural management. Pedosphere 23 (6): 740-751 (2013)
AbstractSoil management matters in semiarid lands are key to have acceptable yields and to preserve diversity. After the major agricultural intensification underwent in the semiarid lands of Monegros, NE Spain, custom tailored tools are needed to reconcile agriculture with habitats conservation. The objectives of this study were to quantify the effect of soil properties of two distinctly colored soils, white patches (WP) and dark patches (DP), dominant in the arid landscape of the central Ebro Basin, Spain on winter cereal grain yield and to prove that superficial soil color could be used as a visual diagnostic criterion for evaluation of agricultural practices in arid lands. Significant differences between WP and DP soils were found in gypsum, carbonate contents, available water holding capacity and infiltration rate. The grain yield ranged from 51 to 5 713 kg ha-1. A significantly lower yield (P < 0.01) and precipitation-use efficiency (P < 0.05) was attained in the WP soils for the three seasons studied. This difference increased with the average rainfall due to the significantly lower soil water infiltration (P < 0.01) and water holding capacity (P < 0.05) found in the gypseous soils. Our results show that mapping the soil surface color at farm scale can be a low-cost tool for optimizing agricultural practices and recovering the natural vegetation. This approach can be advantageous in similar arid or semiarid environments around the world.
Description12 Págs., 7 Figs., 3 Tabls.The definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/10020160
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1002-0160(13)60066-1
Appears in Collections:(EEAD) Artículos
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