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Terra Latinoamericana

versión On-line ISSN 2395-8030versión impresa ISSN 0187-5779


VALDIVIESO-PEREZ, Ingrid Abril; GARCIA-BARRIOS, Luis E.; ALVAREZ-SOLIS, David  y  NAHED-TORAL, José. From cornfields to grasslands: change in the quality of soil. Terra Latinoam [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.4, pp.363-374. ISSN 2395-8030.

Clearing forests and transforming them into agricultural land contributes significantly to soil degradation and loss. This process has been tracked for two major consecutive land use changes that occurred over the past 50 years in an ejido in the buffer zone of the La Sepultura Reserve: the transitions from forest to cornfields and from the latter to grasslands. It is not clear whether the second transition aggravated, reduced or reverted soil quality loss nor, especially, whether the slope and the specific types of soil cover within each land use affect the outcome. In order to answer these questions, a small watershed with the three land uses on comparable topography and managed by a single owner was selected. Soil samples were obtained to evaluate their quality. A line intercept method was used to estimate soil cover types within each land use, under two topographic units (ridges and ravines), and repeated three times throughout two seasons: rainy and dry. The transition from forest to cornfield did not decrease the soil quality on ridges but did in the ravines. The transition from cornfield to grassland reduced soil quality on the ridges, but not in the ravines. Soil quality was not associated with soil cover type within each land use due to the seasonal variations in moisture and selective cattle grazing. The transition from cornfield to grassland further decreased the quality of soil from high quality to average where more grazing occurred.

Palabras llave : organic matter; change use land; livestock.

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