Effect of five tree crops and a cover crop in multi-strata agroforestry at two fertilization levels on soil fertility and soil solution chemistry in central Amazonia

Abstract

The spatio-temporal patterns of soil fertility and soil solution chemistry in a multi-strata agroforestry system with perennial crops were analysed as indicators for the effects of crop species and management measures on soil conditions under permanent agriculture in central Amazonia. The study was carried out in a plantation with locally important tree crop species and a leguminous cover crop at two fertilization levels on a xanthic Ferralsol. Soil fertility to 2 m soil depth was evaluated 3.5 years after the establishment of the plantation, and soil solution chemistry at 10, 60 and 200 cm soil depth was monitored over 2 years. Several soil fertility characteristics exhibited spatial patterns within the multi-strata plots which reflected the differing properties of the plant species and their management, including the fertilizer input. Significant differences between species could be detected to 150 cm depth, and between fertilization treatments to 200 cm depth. Favourable effects on nutrient availability in the soil were found for annatto (Bixa orellana) (P, K) and cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum) (Ca, Mg) in comparison with peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) and Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa). Nutrient concentrations of the soil solution showed pronounced fluctuations in the topsoil, corresponding to fertilizer applications. Large nutrient concentrations in the soil solution were accompanied by increased concentrations of aluminium and low pH values, caused by exchange reactions between fertilizer and sorbed acidity and reinforced by the acidifying effect of nitrification. The soil solution under the leguminous cover crop Pueraria phaseoloides had relatively large N concentrations during periods when those under the tree crops were small, and this could partly explain why no yield responses to N fertilization were observed at this site.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1004743122678

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Cite this paper

@article{Schroth2004EffectOF, title={Effect of five tree crops and a cover crop in multi-strata agroforestry at two fertilization levels on soil fertility and soil solution chemistry in central Amazonia}, author={G{\"{o}tz Schroth and Wenceslau G Teixeira and Rosangela Seixas and Luciana Ferreira Marques da Silva and Michaela Schaller and Jeferson L.V. Mac{\^e}do and Wolfgang Zech}, journal={Plant and Soil}, year={2004}, volume={221}, pages={143-156} }