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Spatial-temporal soil moisture dynamics under different cocoa production systems

Niether, Wiebke; Schneidewind, Ulf; Armengot, Laura; Adamtey, Noah; Schneider, Monika and Gerold, Gerhard (2017) Spatial-temporal soil moisture dynamics under different cocoa production systems. CATENA, 158, pp. 340-349.

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Online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0341816217302448

Summary

Soil moisture has high spatial and temporal variability, depending on topography, soil texture, vegetation and meteorological conditions. It influences many processes in the soil and supplies water to the vegetation. This is often a limiting factor in agricultural production.
Over an 18-month period, we measured soil moisture dynamics down to a depth of 70 cm in a long-term trial in Bolivia comprising six different land-use systems, i.e. cocoa monocultures and agroforestry systems, both under organic and conventional management, successional cocoa agroforestry systems and a natural fallow. Soil was heterogeneous over the area and in depth. We identified and separated two soil groups which differed in both, texture and soil water retention capacity. Considering the two groups, we assessed the effect of the different land-use systems on soil moisture dynamics and plant available water on the one hand, and how different soil moisture conditions affect growth and production of cocoa on the other.
In monocultures with shallow rooting cocoa only, soil moisture decreased mainly in the uppermost soil layer during the dry season and the lower layers kept more moisture year round. In agroforestry systems soil moisture decreased homogeneously over the soil profile, implying a complementarity in water use of cocoa and deeper rooting trees. The uppermost soil layer in the agroforestry systems had higher soil moisture than in the monoculture, demonstrating the role of shade trees to reduce water loss from top soil by evaporation and transpiration of the cocoa. Even though one soil group had continuously higher water availability than the other group, we did not find an effect on the cocoa yield.
Cocoa relies on sufficient water supply, but beside information on the precipitation it is important to know the soil structure and soil water retention capacity when discussing water availability for cocoa production and to consider the heterogeneity of the soil even over small area.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Soil moisture, Water retention capacity, Cocoa, Land-use systems, Spatial variability, Department of International Cooperation, Agroforestry sytsems
Subjects: Crop husbandry
Soil
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Bolivia
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International Cooperation
Germany > University of Göttingen
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2017.07.011
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/en/switzerland/development/working-themes/agroforestry-systems.html
Deposited By: Schneider, Monika
ID Code:32091
Deposited On:05 Sep 2017 10:47
Last Modified:05 Sep 2017 10:47
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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