Hilgardia
Hilgardia
Hilgardia
University of California
Hilgardia

Looking back 60 years, California soils maintain overall chemical quality

Authors

Fabrice DeClerck
Michael J Singer

Authors Affiliations

F. DeClerck is Graduate Student, Geography Graduate Group, UC Davis; M. Singer is Professor of Soil Science, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis. This work was funded by a grant from the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science, Garrison Sposito, Director. We gratefully acknowledge the laboratory assistance of Mui Lai, Roxanne Bland and Mark Finlay.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 57(2):38-41. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n02p38. April 2003.

PDF of full article, Cite this article

Abstract

To learn whether soil properties important to production agriculture and environmental quality have changed significantly in the past half-century in California, we analyzed archival samples and samples collected in 2001 from the same locations. Comparisons of organic matter content, pH, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen, total carbon and plant-available phosphorus showed significant changes since the mid1900s. Across the state we found increases at the 95% confidence level for plant-available phosphorus, total carbon, pH, and percent clay, and increases at the 90% confidence level for percent silt and total nitrogen. We measured significant decreases at the 95% confidence level for electrical conductivity and percent sand. Based on this sample of 125 soils, we believe that California's soil chemical quality has not decreased significantly over the past 60 years. However, increased clay percentages may be interpreted as a sign of accelerated erosion, which is a sign of decreased soil quality.

References

Arshad MA, Coen GM. Characterization of soil quality: Physical and chemical criteria. Am J Alternative Ag. 1992. 7:25-31.

Doran JW, Sarrantonio M, Liebig MA. Soil health and sustainability. Adv. Agron. 1996. 56:1-54.

Fournier F, Bouma J, Bregt AK. The effect of human activity on soil quality. Land Qualities in Space and Time. 1989. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc. p. 25-32.

Grossman RB, Harms DS, Seybold CA, Herrick JE. Coupling use-dependent and use-invariant data for soil quality evaluation in the United States. J Soil Water Cons. 2001. 56:63-8.

Lal R, Greenland DJ, Szabolcs I. Sustainable land use systems and soil resilience. Soil Resilience and Sustainable Land Use. Proc of Symp, Budapest, Hungary. 28 Sept-Oct 2. 1994. Wallingford, England: CAB Int. p. 41-67.

Olsen SR, Sommers LE, Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR. Phosphorus. Methods of Soil Analysis: Part 2 Chemical and Microbial Properties, 2nd ed. 1982. Madison, WI: Soil Sci Soc Am. p. 403-30.

Parr JF, Papendick RI, Hornick SB, Meyer RE. Soil quality: Attributes and relationship to alternative and sustainable agriculture. Am J Alternative Ag. 1992. 7:5-11.

Sanders DW. International activities in assessing and monitoring soil degradation. Am J Alternative Ag. 1992. 7:17-24.

Seybold CA, Mausbach MJ, Karlen DL, Rogers HH, Lal R, Kimble JM, Follett RF, Stewart BA. Quantification of soil quality. Soil Processes and The Carbon Cycle. 1998. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 387-404.

Singer MJ, Ewing SA, Sumner ME. Soil quality. Handbook of Soil Science. 2000. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. G271-98.

Singer MJ, Munns DN. Soils: An Introduction. 2002. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 429p.

Soil Survey Staff. Soil Survey Manual. Soil Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture Handbook 18, Washington, DC. 410 p 1993. http://www.statlab.iastate.edu/soils/ssm/gen_cont.html

Tanji KK, Tanji KK. The nature and extent of agricultural salinity problems. Agricultural Salinity Assessment and Management. 1990. New York: ASCE. p. 1-17.

DeClerck F, Singer M. 2003. Looking back 60 years, California soils maintain overall chemical quality. Hilgardia 57(2):38-41. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n02p38
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu