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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Soil Survey Input in Exploratory Modeling of Sustainable Soil Management Practices


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 6, p. 1704-1710
    Received: Sept 30, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. P. Droogers  and
  2. J. Bouma
  1. Department of Soil Science and Geology, Wageningen Agricultural Univ., P.O. Box 37, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands



Soil survey information combined with exploratory simulation modeling was used to define indicators for sustainable land management. In one soil series in the Netherlands (the genoform), three different phenoforms were formed as a result of different management practices. Locations were identified using a soil map and interviews with farmers. Organic matter, bulk densities, and porosities were significantly different for the three phenoforms: biodynamic management (Bio), conventional management (Conv), and permanent grassland (Perm). By applying a dynamic simulation model for water movement, crop growth and N dynamics, the three phenoforms were analyzed in terms of sustainability indicators by defining four scenarios based on productivity and N leaching to the groundwater: (i) potential production, (ii) water-limited production, (iii) current management, and (iv) the environmental scenario. The latter was divided into EnvA: never exceeding the N-leaching threshold of 11.3 mg L-1; EnvB: exceedance occurring in one out of 30 yr; and EnvC: exceedance occurring in three out of 30 yr. Biodynamic management obtained the lowest yield under current management, while yields for Perm were highest. EnvA could not be reached for Perm as a result of high mineralization rates. Obtainable yields for scenarios EnvA, EnvB, and EnvC differed substantially, illustrating the importance of selecting “acceptable” risks in environmental regulation. The presented methodology demonstrates the importance of pedological input in sustainability studies.

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