Effect of Land Clearing Method on Chemical Properties of an Ultisol In the Amazon
- J. C. Alegre,
- D. K. Cassel and
- D. E. Bandy
This study quantified soil chemical properties as affected by land clearing method and subsequent soil management. It was conducted on a Yurimaguas soil (fine-loamy, siliceous, isohyperthermic Typic Paleudults) covered by a 20-yr-old evergreen forest in the Amazon Basin of Peru. The experimental design, a split plot replicated three times, included six main plot treatments: (i) slash and burn clearing; (ii) bulldozer clearing with a straight blade; (iii) straight blade clearing followed by chisel plowing 25 cm deep; (iv) bulldozer clearing with shear blade, vegetation burned, followed by disking 30 cm deep; (v) shear blade clearing and rototilling with a 10-KW tractor; and (vi) shear blade clearing, 30-cm-deep disking, followed by rototilling. Three post clearing soil management practices (subplots) were: (1) flat planted with no fertilizer or lime; (2) flat planted with fertilizer and lime applications incorporated, based on soil test recommendations; and (3) soil bedded at 1.1-m spacings, and fertilizer and lime applied as in Subplot 2. Five successive crops, rice (Oryza sativa L.)-soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]-corn (Zea mays L.)-rice-corn were grown from July 1980 to July 1982. Soil samples collected before or just after harvest of the first, second, and third crops were analyzed for chemical properties. Burning dried vegetation resulted in higher concentrations of Ca, Mg, P, and K in the 0- to 45-cm soil layer. No significant differences due to main treatments were found for the other chemical properties. The pH of the surface soil increased from 4.0 to 5.2 for all limed subplots. Percent aluminum saturation decreased from 82 to 7%, and P, Ca, Mg, and effective cation capacity increased. The decrease in topsoil organic carbon at 14 wk for all mechanically cleared treatments was probably due to increased oxidation rates due to tillage and higher soil temperatures. Concentrations of Cu, Fe, and Mn in the soil were unaffected by treatment.
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