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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Measurement and Use of Ph and Electrical Conductivity for Soil Quality Analysis

Authors
item Smith, Jeffrey
item Doran, John

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 10, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The parameters of electrical conductivity (EC) and pH are easily measured in the field and can provide information on the nutrient condition and acidity of the soil. These parameters can also be indicators of the effects on biological activity where certain microbial mediated processes are affected by shifts in pH or EC. Management practices can have a significant affect on pH and EC in short time periods making these parameters good indicators of change. In the context of soil quality it is the direction of change and the rate of change that we are interested in measuring.

Technical Abstract: In the last few years numerous meetings have been held to determine what soil properties should be measured to describe soil quality. Most of the lists are long and would take a significant amount of resources to measure all of the soil properties. In addition, there has been significant emphasis on biological measurements for determining soil quality which are usually complex both in measurement and interpretation. Our effort has focused on determining which chemical, biological and physical soil quality indicators would respond quickly to soil management changes. In addition, we have done extensive analysis of spatial and temporal variability of proposed soil quality indicators. In this paper we will report on the measurement and use of pH or soil acidity and electrical conductivity or chemical supply to evaluate soil quality.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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