Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #282429

Title: Evaluation of soil quality in areas of cocoa cabruca, forest and multicropping in southern Bahia, Brazil

item FERNANDES, CINIRA - Federal University Of Bahia Reconcavo
item ARAUJO, QUINTINO - University Of Bahia
item SODRE, GEORGE - University Of Bahia
item SOUZA, LUCIANO - Federal University Of Bahia Reconcavo
item GROSS, EDUARDO - University Of Bahia
item OLIVEIRA, SERGIO - University Of Bahia
item Baligar, Virupax

Submitted to: Agrotropica: Revista de Agricultura dos Tropicos Umidos
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2013
Publication Date: 12/1/2014
Citation: Fernandes, C.A., Araujo, Q.R., Sodre, G.A., Souza, L.S., Gross, E., Oliveira, S., Baligar, V.C. 2014. Evaluation of soil quality in areas of cocoa cabruca, forest and multicropping in southern Bahia, Brazil. Agrotropica: Revista de Agricultura dos Tropicos Umidos. 25(3):137-148.

Interpretive Summary: Poor management practices in cacao plantations has contributed to loss of soil quality. A better understanding of land use and shade tree composition can help improve soil quality in cacao agroforestry systems. In this paper we report the impact of cacao agroforestry management practices on soil quality in a major cacao growing region of Brazil. Good management practices and proper shade tree composition improved soil quality in cacao agroforesty plantations. This information will be useful to regulatory officials that make decisions attempting to limit soil degradation and cacao growers trying to improve soil quality leading to increases in cacao yields.

Technical Abstract: The Atlantic Rain Forest is one of the most complex natural environments of the earth and, linked with this ecosystem, the cacao-cabruca system is agroforestry cultivation with an arrangement including a range of environmental, social and economical benefits and can protect many features of the biodiversity of natural forest. The soil, in general, seems to be one of the beneficiary components from this agricultural system. The soil quality index (SQI) is a tool for aggregation and simplification of various kinds of information for quantifying the edaphological quality. This study aimed to evaluate the indices of soil quality, using the methodology proposed by Karlen and Stott (1994), in systems of cacao-cabruca, forest and multicropping, comparing the soil quality with the land use and correlating it with tree attributes in cabrucas, in two rural properties in the cities of Ilheus and Arataca, southern Bahia, Brazil. Soil samples were collected at 0-10, 10-30 and 30-50 cm, to perform physical and chemical analysis. The soil quality indexes showed a variation in the following descending order Cabruca 1> Cabruca 2 = Intercropping > Forest; in general, the soils had low levels of fertility and dystrophic character; and that the methodology proved to be adequate for the study of soil quality as a basis for decisions related to improvements in the soil.