Desertification involves the loss of soil productive potential, but a means of assessing and monitoring the progress of desertification on the soil has been elusive. Soil is so varied and complex that methods of assessing condition are too slow, tedious, and expensive for routine use. Moreover, differences in soil type can be confused with soil condition. This paper presents a structured method of assessing soil condition. This method is based on recognizing and classifying soil surface features and examining soil properties that reflect the status of the processes of erosion, infiltration, and nutrient cycling. Published in the form of a user manual, the method has the following three stages: (1) defining the geomorphic setting of the site, (2) recognizing patch/interpatch associations and the mode of erosion at the landscape scale, and (3) assessing soil surface condition ratings in quadrats sited within the landscape pattern patches. Stage 3 is achieved by observing each of 11 features in the field and classifying their status according to detailed fieldnotes and photographs. The method applies to a wide range of soil types and biogeographical regimes and has proven to be repeatable among observers and quickly transferred to new observers.
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- Monitoring Soil Productive Potential
- Springer Netherlands
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