Submitted to: Proceedings Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2004
Publication Date: March 3, 2004
Citation: WIENHOLD, B.J., ANDREWS, S.S. DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF THE SOIL MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK. PROCEEDINGS GREAT PLAINS SOIL FERTILITY CONFERENCE 10:47-52. 2004. Interpretive Summary: Soils play important roles in plant production and environmental quality. Soil management influences how effectively these important roles are performed. Assessing management effects on soils is complicated by variation in time, over space, and the difficulty in measuring meaningful differences in soil properties. Assessment tools are needed for determining the effectiveness of changes in management or comparing contrasting management practices. The Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) uses scoring curves to interpret measured soil properties. Scoring curve values allow for easy comparison among management practices or evaluation of a management practice over time. When used to compare a number of management practices in the Northern Great Plains conclusions reached using the SMAF were similar to those reached based on professional judgment. The SMAF has potential as a tool for evaluating management effects on soils.
Technical Abstract: Soils perform a number of critical functions essential to productivity and environmental quality. Management practices are known to affect a number of these soil functions. Spatial and temporal variation and the slow rate of change in many soil properties make it difficult to assess the effect management is having on soil functions. Tools are needed to assist managers in making assessments of the effect their management practices are having on the soil resource. The Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) uses scoring curves to interpret soil indicator data. The values generated using the scoring curves can be used individually or can be combined to make comparisons among management practices or to assess a management practice over time. A case study is presented comparing a number of management practices in the Northern Great Plains. Conclusions reached using the SMAF were similar to those reached based on professional judgment in earlier publications. While scoring curves for additional soil indicators are needed, the SMAF provides an objective way of assessing management affects on soils.