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Research Project: Precision Farming for Development of Sustainable Dryland Cropping Systems of the Central Great Plains Region

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Title: Soil health assessment under different land management

item Mikha, Maysoon
item LI, LIDONG - University Of Nebraska
item Jin, Virginia
item Kettler, Timothy
item Karlen, Douglas
item NUNES, MÁRCIO - Orise Fellow
item LEHMAN, MICHAEL - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Johnson, Jane

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: n/a

Technical Abstract: Land management decisions are important in sustaining ecosystem functioning, enhancing productivity, and maintaining human livelihoods. Soil health assessment is related to soil functioning and must include soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, all of which can be directly or indirectly influenced by management decisions. A chronosequence of various land management practices was evaluated for soil health using the Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF). The study sites have 0 to 40 years of management history including enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), long-term pasture, and row crop production. Soil samples were collected from the 0 to 5 cm (~ 0-2 inch) depth at slope positions of 14 to 25% (high) and 2 to 14% (low). The results show that the soils were functioning at 84% and 78% of their theoretical capacity for CRP and row crop, respectively. Both CRP and long-term pasture enhanced soil biological properties which were functioning at ~ 41% of their theoretical capacity, while biological properties in row crop soils were functioning at 25% of their theoretical capacity. Enhancing soil biological, physical, and chemical quality is an ecological benefit of CRP management, especially for highly erosive soils. Overall, this study provided guidance regarding management practices that could improve soil health by sustaining or enhancing ecosystem functioning.