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Research Project: Sustainable Production Systems for Cacao

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Title: Variability and correlation of physical attributes of soils cultivated with cacao trees in two climate zones in southern Bahia, Brazil

Author
item Arevalo-hernandez, C - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil
item Conceicao, Pinto - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil
item Souza, J - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil
item Queiroz, Paiva - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil
item Baligar, Virupax

Submitted to: Agroforestry Systems
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2017
Publication Date: 12/8/2017
Citation: Arevalo-Hernandez, C.O., Conceicao, P.F., Souza, J.O., Queiroz, P.A., Baligar, V.C. 2017. Variability and correlation of physical attributes of soils cultivated with cacao trees in two climate zones in southern Bahia, Brazil. Agroforestry Systems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-017-0176-4.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-017-0176-4

Interpretive Summary: Cacao is grown on wide range of soil types but its productivity on these soils is greatly influenced by soil physical attributes that alter soil water holding capacity, rate of water infiltration, and depth of the root system. Our research shows that physical attributes such as soil texture, bulk density and particle density, porosity, moisture, and soil resistance to root penetration are important for cacao development. Cacao trees cultivated in the drier climate zones have major physical constraints such as low macroporosity, low water holding capacity and high penetration resistance and these soil properties reduce growth, and development and yield potentials. The findings from this research will be useful to farmers in cacao growing regions to help them select soils with better physical attributes in order to establish sustainable long-term cacao plantations and achieve economically viable production.

Technical Abstract: Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is a very important crop in southern Bahia, Brazil, which needs good climate and soil conditions and management for great productivity. In this region, the culture is developed in a large variety of soils, which indicates differentiated products. The aim of this study was to evaluate the variability of physical attributes of soils cultivated with cacao in two climate zones in southern Bahia, Brazil, as well as to evaluate the occurrence of correlation between these physical attributes. Eighty samples soils were evaluated in 20 cacao farms in agroforestry systems were evaluated, in the layers 0–0.1 m and 0.1–0.3 m. The analyses comprised granulometry, soil bulk density and particle density, porosity (total, macro, and micro), gravimetric moisture, and soil resistance to penetration. The data were submitted to descriptive statistical analysis and correlation between variables. Most variables had normal distribution (p>0.05) and high variability. However, in general, the soils had good physical conditions for the production of cacao, except for the high resistance to root penetration, which can be limiting. The greatest differences in physical attributes of the soils were: gravimetric moisture, resistance to penetration, macroporosity, and sand content. The correlations between physical attributes of the soils varied according to the sampled layer and the climate zone, and the resistance to penetration alone was not correlated with any other physical attribute.