DOI:https://doi.org/10.3232/SJSS.2018.V8.N1.03

Assessment and suggestions for improvement of soils with different uses in a sector of Montesinho Natural Park, Portugal

Mirian Gutiérrez Montero, Felícia Fonseca, Tomas Figueiredo, Ángel Sánchez Bellón

Abstract

The main objective of this study is to evaluate the quality of four soils with distinct uses and managements (pasture, cereal, chestnut and oak) to check whether their use is appropriate and propose improvements. The investigation took place at Vilar de Ossos, a sector of Montesinho Natural Park in northeast Portugal. Results were obtained from field work and laboratory analyses of more than 25 parameters (textural analysis, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium contents, cation exchange capacity and cation saturation percentage, pH, organic matter, stoniness, useful soil depth, drainage, etc.). An estimation of erosion was also made following the universal soil loss equation. Pasture and oak registered low values on soil erosion while cereal and chestnut had medium values in the same parameter. With the data obtained, we made soil evaluations according to the Agrologic Classes and the Riquier Bramao and Cornet systems. Results indicate that only chestnut soil had low qualities for farming, and that cereal soils needed a change of use. Finally, based on the assessments, recommendations to improve soil quality have been made. For the pasture soil, the proposal is to put the focus on the nutritional values. In the cereal soil, conservation tillage is proposed. In the chestnut soil, stopping the current plowing technique is suggested and, in the oak soil, which is a natural soil, the proposal is to leave it in its current state.

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