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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://dspace.ucuenca.edu.ec/handle/123456789/22080
Title: Spatial variability in crop response under contour hedgerow systems in the Andes region of Ecuador
Other Titles: Soil and Tillage Research
Authors: Dercon, Gerd
Deckers, Jozef
Sánchez, Henrry
Ramírez, Marco
Vanegas, Raúl
Tacuri Espinoza, Eduardo
Loaiza, George
Govers, Gerard
Poesen, Jean
Keywords: Contour Hedgerow Systems
Spatial Variability
Crop Response
Hedgerow Grasses
Issue Date: Mar-2006
metadata.dc.ucuenca.paginacion: Páginas 15-26
volumen 86
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: doi: 10.1016/j.still.2005.01.017
metadata.dc.type: Article
Land management practices on tropical soils have been studied extensively during the past decades. However, assessments of their impact on field-scale spatial variability in crop performance are rare. A case of practices affecting spatial crop response at field level in a systematic way is the contour hedgerow system, a widespread soil conservation technique on steep lands in the tropics. The objectives of this study were to assess: (i) spatial variability in crop response under contour hedgerow systems in the Andes and (ii) implications for management of steep land alley farming. In order to measure spatial variability in crop response, Triticum aestivum was sown in rows following the contours, placed every 25 cm along the slope direction. Grain yield was monitored on eight alleys, having slopes from 15 to 30%, a length of 4–8 m and soils ranging from Dystri-Vertic Cambisols to Haplic Phaeozem, in the Andes region of Ecuador. In order to relate crop response with soil fertility, soil sampling was carried out in bands following the contour. Top soil properties, such as organic carbon, NTotal, NO3−, P, exchangeable Aluminium, P fixation, exchangeable bases, CEC and texture, were analysed. The barrier strips of the contour hedgerow systems were composed of: (i) Pennisetum clandestinum and Lolium multiflorum or (ii) Phalaris tuberosa. Spatial variability in crop response was described by fourth-order polynomial equations, where position in the alley was the independent variable and plant characteristics were the dependent variables. Grain yield ranged from 0.8 to 4.0 t ha−1 (net area). Clear and significant patterns of spatial variability in crop response were found in all alleys, with R2 varying from 0.55 to 0.90. Crop response was strongly and positively correlated with NO3−, P, exchangeable bases or organic carbon, dependent on the management, age and soil conditions of the alleys. Tillage erosion and soil accumulation on respectively the upper and lower elevations of the alleys were the main causes for a tendency to a significantly increased crop response along the slope direction. However, according the type of grass used in the barrier strip, competition for soil fertility and soil moisture occurred and influenced in negative way crop productivity in the lower elevations of the alleys. An index is proposed to assess the effect of contour hedgerows on crop response. The present study shows that contour hedgerow systems cannot always be evaluated as completely positive. Soil fertility improvement on the upper part of the alleys and a better management of the barrier strip are suggested to enhance crop productivity of contour hedgerow systems.
URI: http://dspace.ucuenca.edu.ec/handle/123456789/22080
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