Approaches to assessing the quality of rangeland soils

TitleApproaches to assessing the quality of rangeland soils
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsHerrick JE, Whitford WG
Conference NameAmerican Society of Agronomy Meeting
Date PublishedNovember 13-18,
Keywordsassessing quality, Chihuahuan Desert, rangeland soils
AbstractSoil quality can be defined as the soil’s capacity to perform selected functions, to resist degradation, and to recover following disturbance. It depends on interactions between the soil, soil fauna, and vegetation, and, therefore, may serve as a useful integrated indicator of overall ecosystem condition. Definitions of ecosystem condition, however, depend on management objectives. We will present an approach for calibrating indicators of semiarid rangeland soil quality for a variety of management objectives. This integrated approach will be illustrated with preliminary data from a study of semiarid rangeland in the Chihuahuan Desert. These data, together with other recent studies, suggest that spatial patterns may be as useful as average values of soil properties in assessing soil quality for noncultivated systems.