Physical Indicators of Cambisols Under Agricultural Uses in Chapada do Apodi, Semiarid Region of Brazil

  •  Joseane Dunga da Costa    
  •  Jeane Cruz Portela    
  •  Phâmella Kalliny Pereira Farias    
  •  José Francismar de Medeiros    
  •  Pollyana Mona Soares Dias    
  •  Stefeson Bezerra de Melo    
  •  Rafael Oliveira Batista    
  •  Joaquim Emanuel Fernandes Gondim    
  •  Matheus Alves Ribeiro    


Soil physical structure is related to porous space dynamics, which is affected by pedogenetic conditions, land uses, and agricultural practices. Thus, the objective of this work was to evaluate physical and structural attributes of Cambissolos under different uses in the Terra de Esperança Settlement Project, in Chapada do Apodi, Governor Dix-Sept Rosado, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, and detect the most sensitive attributes for the distinction of environments using multivariate analysis. The study areas with different land uses were: Native Forest Area 1 (NFA1), Native Forest Area 2 (NFA2), Native Forest Area 3 (NFA3) (reference areas), Conventional Management Area (CMA) Agroecological Area (AEA), and Cajaraneira (Spondia sp.) Orchard Area (COA). Areas with agricultural uses were characterized through physical and structural analyses, using disturbed and undisturbed soil samples collected from their 0.00-0.10, 0.10-0.20, and 0.20-0.30 m soil layers. The soil classes of the areas, according to the Brazilian Soil Classification System (SiBCS) were Cambissolo Haplico Carbonatico vertissolico (NFA1); Cambissolo Haplico Ta Eutrofico tipico (NFA2 and COA); Cambissolo Haplico Ta Eutrofico vertissolico (NFA3); and Cambissolo Haplico Carbonático tipico (CMA and AEA). The results of the attributes analyzed were expressed as mean of three replications per soil layer of each area, using multivariate analysis. Soil textures varied from sandy clay loam to clay. The total sand fraction presented negative correlations with clay dispersed in water, gravimetric moisture (GM), volumetric moisture (VM), total porosity determined (TPd) and microporosity (MiP); and positive correlations with soil density (SD), and basic infiltration rate (BIR), denoting pedogenetic influence. The SD presented significant correlation with GM, VM, TPd, MiP, macroporosity (MaP), aeration porosity (AP) and BIR, denoting its importance for the physical structure of the soil, and its dynamics. The most relevant attributes for the discrimination of the soil physical structure were the inorganic fractions clay and sand, porosity, degree of flocculation, aggregates, and soil mechanical resistance to penetration. The physical and structural attributes of the Cambissolos Haplicos were generally preserved, when compared to the current conditions of the NFAs, despite the different land use and managements. However, the soils of NFA1 (0.20-0.30 m layer), CMA, and AEA areas indicate fragility in aggregate stability and degree of flocculation due to the predominance of the sand fraction. The COA presented more favorable physical and structural conditions to the development of agricultural crops, especially on the surface layers, mostly influenced by their clay, TPd, AP, GM, VM, and soil mechanical resistance to penetration.

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