|Main authors:||Lúcia Barão and Gottlieb Basch
|Source document:||Barão, L. and Basch, G. (2017) Identification of parameter/indicator set for testing and evaluating the impact on soil quality and crop production parameters. iSQAPER Project Milestone 6.2 29 pp|
In this article we describe the range of pedo-climatic zones and farming systems within which the 138 paired control/AMP experimental plots that were used in the 2016 field campaign were located. We give the criteria we used to select a subset of 20 plots for an extended visual soil and assessment and measurement of additional soil properties in 2018.
1. Distribution of experimental sites using innovative AMPs by climatic region
In Europe, only the case study sites in the De Peel (Netherlands) and Argentré du Plessis (France) were not able to identify plots according to the requested variability. That was mainly due to the absence of different soil types in the region and the predominance of Anthrosols. The rest of the European case study sites identified the plots with the requested variability in the farming systems, soil types and AMPs and their corresponding control plots.
In China, each case study site was only able to identify 6 or 7 plots/farms. While there was still some variability on the soil type, the majority of the farming systems identified in the plots/farms was Arable land.
A total of 138 plots/farms using innovative AMPs was identified: 112 in Europe and 26 in China. In Europe the sites covered six of the eight climatic regions. Some of the plots/farms identified in SE Spain (Spain) were located not only in the Mediterranean Temperate region but also in the Semi-Arid Mediterranean region. Trzebieszów (Poland) covered two climatic regions at the same time, with some plots/farms located in the Northern Sub-Continental region and others in the Southern Sub-Continental region (Figure 4). In China, the plots were distributed across three climatic regions.
2. Farming systems used in experimental sites
In Europe the most frequent farming system in the experimental sites was Arable land (63%) followed by Permanent crops (23%) and Pastures (14%). In China, however the great majority of the siteswere Arable Land (92%) and only 4% for Permanent crops and 4% for Pastures.
The relative distribution of farming systems within each case study site was very variable. As an example, Portugal, Spain and Greece identified a great number of plots in the Permanent crops farming system, while Pastures were also identified in a significant number in Greece, Romania and Estonia.
3. Soil types in the experimental sites
The experimental sites in Europe were mainly on Cambisols (29%), Fluvisols (17%), Luvisols (15%), Podzols (9%), Regosols (8%) and Anthrosols (6%). In China they were on Anthrosols (27%), Calcisols (23%), Phaeozems (12%), Regosols (15%), Chernozems (12%) and Acrisols (11%) (Figure 7).
4. Innovative AMPs identified in the experimental sites
The three most frequently chosen innovative AMPs in the European experimental sites were:
- Manuring & composting (15%),
- Crop rotation (15%) and
- Minimum tillage (14%).
However other AMPs were also identified with some significance such as Residue Maintenance (9%), No tillage (6%), Permanent soil cover (6%), Leguminous crops (6%), Change of land use practices (10%) and Measures against compaction (6%).
In China, the most frequently chosen AMPs were
- Manuring & composting (18%)
- Residue maintenance/Mulching (18%)
- Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture (12%)
Figure 8a Europe
Figure 8b China
Some of the AMPs were more commonly selected than others (Figure 9)
- Minimum tillage was mainly present in the experimental sites in Portugal, Spain, Hungary and Estonia,
- Crop rotation in Hungary, Spain, Poland, and Estonia
- Manuring & Composting was the choice in Spain, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and also China.
In contrast, Area closure /rotation grazing was only present in Romania and China (Zhifanggou) and Major change in timing of activities, only identified in China (Qiyang).
5. Soil threats
The iSQAPER teams working in the case study sites were asked to rank soil quality problems in their area according to their own expert opinion. The results show that in Europe the main soil threats can be grouped within climatic regions (Figure 10).
- Atlantic region: Nitrate leaching, Soil-borne pests diseases and Compaction.
- Mediterranean temperate region: Erosion, SOM decline, Compaction, Poor structure and Salinization.
- Southern sub-continental region: Nitrate leaching, Poor water holding capacity, Poor structure and Soil-borne pests and diseases.
- Northern Sub-continental region: Poor water holding capacity, Poor structure, Compaction, SOM decline and Salinization.
Although the experimental sites in China do not represent many of the climatic regions, it is still possible to highlight some important soil threats (Figure 11).
- Central Asia Tropical region: Erosion, SOM decline and Poor structure. Additionally, Qiyang also shows problems with Compaction and Soil-borne pests and diseases while Suining shows also problems with Poor water holding capacity.
- Warm temperate region (Zhifanggou): Erosion, SOM decline and Poor Structure
- Middle temperate zone (Gongzhuling): SOM decline.
6. Criterial for selection of experimental sites
The decisions about which plots/farms to use as sites to test the impact of promising AMPs were made by combining
- the information about plots/farms identified by each case study site in their area using innovative AMPs with
- the results of the visual soil soil assessments (VSA) (»Visual soil and plant quality assessment)
according to the following criteria:
- 2 plots using innovative AMPs were selected in each case study site area. In cases where only one soil type or one farming system was identified, only 1 plot was selected;
- selection always considered different innovative AMPs within the plots identified by each case study site, and in different farming systems;
- in case of multiple possible choices, selection favoured the most representative soil type for the case study site area (Figure 3).
- within the same climatic region, selection favoured the variation of innovative AMPs. This is relevant since some case study sites are located in the same climatic region.
- selection of innovative AMPs in each particular case study site took into consideration the plot/farm with the highest visual soil assessment (VSA) score.
7. Final selection of experimental sites
A total of 23 experimental sites were selected, from 8 different climatic regions and using 15 different innovative AMPs (and combinations of AMPs). Of these experimental sites, 15 are arable lands, 5 are permanent lands and 3 are pastures.
Table 3 Experimental sites selected in the case studies showing the climatic region, farming system, soil type, innovative AMP and the total score from the VSA
|Case study site||Climatic region||Plot Nº||Farming system||Farming system - detail||Soil type||AMP Nº||AMP name||VSA Score|
|The Netherlands (1)||Atlantic||1.3||Arable||Flower, fruits and vegetables||Anthrosols||12||Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture||3|
|France (2)||Atlantic||2.3||Arable||Intensive pasture||Anthrosols||9||Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||1|
|Portugal (3)||Mediterranean temperate||3.2||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Maize||Fluvisols||8||Residue maintenance / Mulching||6|
|Portugal (3)||Mediterranean temperate||3.7||Permanent||Vineyards||Cambisols||13||Water diversion and drainage||7|
|Spain (4)||Mediterranean temperate||4.2||Permanent||Fruit trees and berry plantation||Cambisols||12||Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture||6|
|Spain (4)||Mediterranean temperate||4.8||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Cereals||Regosols||1 – 8||No-till; Residue maintenance / Mulching||7|
|Greece (5)||Mediterranean temperate||5.4||Permanent||Fruit trees and berry plantation||Calcisols||10||Cross-slope measure||7|
|Greece (5)||Mediterranean temperate||5.12||Pasture||Intensive||Cambisols||18||Change of land use practices / intensity level||5|
|Slovenia (6)||Southern sub-continental||6.3||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Cereals; Maize; Legumes; Fodder crops; Root crops||Fluvisols||9||Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||0|
|Slovenia (6)||Southern sub-continental||6.9||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Maize; Legumes; Fodder crops; Root crops||Cambisols||9||Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||2|
|Hungary (7)||Southern sub-continental||7.1||Permanent||Vineyards||Cambisols||5 - 8||Leguminous crop; Residue maintenance / Mulching||8|
|Hungary (7)||Southern sub-continental||7.5||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Cereals; Maize; Oil crops||Luvisols||2-8-9-11||Min-till; Residue maintenance / Mulching; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition; Measures against compaction||3|
|Romania (8)||Southern sub-continental||8.2||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Legumes||Fluvisols||5||Leguminous crops||11|
|Romania (8)||Southern sub-continental||8.11||Pasture||Extensive||Chernozems||18||Change of land use practices / intensity level||2|
|Poland (9)||Northen sub-continental||9.1||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Maize||Podzols||7||Manuring & composting||10|
|Poland (9)||Southern sub-continental||9.5||Permanent||Fruit trees and berry plantation||Luvisols||12||Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture||5|
|Estonia (10)||Boreal to sub-boreal||10.12||Pasture||Intensive||Histosols||3||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover||5|
|Estonia (10)||Boreal to sub-boreal||10.14||Arable||Non-irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||1-9||No-till; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||3|
|China - Qiyang (11)||Central Asia tropical||11.4||Arable||Acrisols||6||Green manure / Integrated soil fertility management||5|
|China - Suining (12)||Central Asia tropical||12.1||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Maize||Anthrosols||8||Residue maintenance / Mulching||5|
|China - Zhifanggou (13)||Cold semi-arid climate||13.6||Arable||Non irrigated arable land - Cereals||Calcisols||8||Residue maintenance / Mulching||12|
|China - Gongzhuling (14)||Middle Temperate||14.1||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Maize||Phaeozems||8||Residue maintenance / Mulching||3|
|China - Gongzhuling (14)||Middle Temperate||14.4||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Maize||Chernozems||8-14||Residue maintenance / Mulching; Irrigation management||3|