We investigated five land use impacts on soil health in a semi-arid environment. The study used five soil health indicators at two depths in order to evaluate land use management impact on soil. The research was conducted at New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center.
Grasslands: grazed native pasture, cropland converted to grassland and croplands: conventional tilled winter grazed cropland, strip-tilled cropland, no-till cropland with no grazing were compared. Soil health indicators used were soil organic carbon, particulate organic matter, wet aggregate stability, permanganate oxidizable carbon, and inorganic N.
Results showed different land uses often impacted these soil health indicators significantly at 0 to 0.2 m of depth. Furthermore impact on soil health indicators differed significantly and insignificantly between and within grasslands and croplands land uses.
Overall land use which was grassland and with integrated livestock had higher performance in soil health indicators. The range in response to these indicators to land uses indicates the value of having multiple measures of soil health.
Publication: Thapa, V.R., R. Ghimire, M. M. Mikha, O.J. Idowu, and M.M. Marsalis (2018). Land Use Effects on Soil Health in Semiarid Drylands. Agricultural & Environmental Letters