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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Applications and Implications of the Soil Management Assessment Framework

Authors
item Andrews, S - NRCS
item KARLEN, DOUGLAS
item Norfleet, L - NRCS
item CAMBARDELLA, CYNTHIA

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 2003
Publication Date: November 7, 2003
Citation: ANDREWS, S.S., KARLEN, D.L., NORFLEET, L., CAMBARDELLA, C.A. APPLICATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE SOIL MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK. ASA-CSSA-SSSA PROCEEDINGS. 2003. CD-ROM. MADISON, WI.

Technical Abstract: Current soil testing, consisting of chemical fertility interpreted on the basis of crop nutrient requirements, does not provide a full picture of soil properties and processes. The Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) has been demonstrated to effectively assess soil function. It integrates soil chemical, physical, and biological properties by selecting indicators based on their relationship to function, scale, climate, and management practice. Further, this tool overcomes the major difficulty of providing site-specific interpretations by using algorithms that are adjusted according to region, soil type, texture, and vegetation. But how adaptable is it really? What happens when it is found to be deficient? Using the framework to assess Loess soils revealed a deficiency in the interpretation of several indicators. We demonstrated the simplicity of updating (and improving) the framework by replacing soil suborder with soil drainage class as an interpretation factor. With additional updates, the tool could provide quantitative assessments of soil function with potential for: 1) educators to demonstrate the effects of management on soil function; 2) land managers to compare practices and monitor changes over time; and 3) program managers to use it to quantify conservation outcomes. Assessment tools, such as SMAF, that reliably reflect functional outcomes may significantly improve sustainability in land management.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014