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Predicting the Effects of Conservation Practices in Tropical Soils

Wilson, L. E., Ramirez-Avila, J. J., & Almansa-Manrique, E. F. (2018). Predicting the Effects of Conservation Practices in Tropical Soils. Proceedings MWRRI. Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute.


Understanding the implications of conservation management practices on runoff and erosion from agricultural fields is important to determine subsequent impacts on soil health, crops productivity, and the overall environment in a watershed. By establishing better practices to improve soil health, the crops will also be more productive, while keeping the impact on the environment to a minimum. In the Eastern Savannahs of Colombia, agricultural production became a very important part of the national economy. However, soils in the region are prone to high erosion and loss of soil fertility if adequate conservation management practices are not established. Fields in the area growing soybean, corn, and rice on rotation under conventional tillage, reduced tillage, and direct planting were studied at the Experimental Station La Libertad (CORPOICA) in Villavicencio, Colombia. The ability of APEX (Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender) to predict runoff, sedimentation, and nutrients present in the eroded material is evaluated using observed climate, runoff, sediment, nutrients, and crop yield data. Using the calibrated models, a better understanding of short and long term effects of implemented management practices is achieved, and the best management practice with regards to the economy and environment health can be identified.

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