Impact of Management on the Physical Attributes of a Dystrophic Yellow Latosol

  •  Maryzélia Farias    
  •  Carlos Feitosa    
  •  Khalil Rodrigues    
  •  Liliane Teixeira    
  •  Mariléia Furtado    
  •  Luisa Parra-Serrano    


Soil use and management systems aim to create conditions that are favorable to crop growth. The hypothesis is that areas subject to intensive use of agricultural machinery and animal trampling tend to have a soil structure that is altered by aggregate fragmentation, which causes soil compaction and consequently decreases the soil’s physical and hydraulic properties. The aim of this study was to assess and compare the physical and hydraulic parameters of a dystrophic yellow latosol in an area of Cerrado in the municipality of Chapadinha, Maranhão, Brazil under different use and management systems. The following five use and management systems were studied with five replicates: native forest (control), slash-and-burn agriculture, grassland, no-till crop production and conventional tillage. Data analysis was performed using a completely randomized experimental design. The soil’s density, macroporosity, microporosity, total porosity, hydraulic conductivity, infiltration, water retention curve, penetration resistance and Soil quality assessment index (S index) were assessed for all management systems. The soil use and management systems were found to have a significant effect on the penetration resistance and the water infiltration rate. The native forest and slash-and-burn agriculture areas provided the highest soil water infiltration rates and the lowest soil penetration resistance. A multivariate analysis identified the variables associated with each soil use and management system. The slash-and-burn agriculture area had the highest S index, which means it provided soil of the best physical quality.

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