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Development of key soil health indicators for the Australian banana industry

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Pattison, A. B., Moody, P.W., Badcock, K.A., Smith, L., Armour, J.A., Rasiah, V., Cobon, J. A., Gulino, L.-M. and Mayer, R. J. (2008) Development of key soil health indicators for the Australian banana industry. Applied Soil Ecology, 40 (1). pp. 155-164.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2008.04.002


To improve the sustainability and environmental accountability of the banana industry there is a need to develop a set of soil health indicators that integrate physical, chemical and biological soil properties. These indicators would allow banana growers, extension and research workers to improve soil health management practices. To determine changes in soil properties due to the cultivation of bananas, a paired site survey was conducted comparing soil properties under conventional banana systems to less intensively managed vegetation systems, such as pastures and forest. Measurements were made on physical, chemical and biological soil properties at seven locations in tropical and sub-tropical banana producing areas. Soil nematode community composition was used as a bioindicator of the biological properties of the soil. Soils under conventional banana production tended to have a greater soil bulk density, with less soil organic carbon (C) (both total C and labile C), greater exchangeable cations, higher extractable P, greater numbers of plant-parasitic nematodes and less nematode diversity, relative to less intensively managed plant systems. The organic banana production systems at two locations had greater labile C, relative to conventional banana systems, but there was no significant change in nematode community composition. There were significant interactions between physical, chemical and nematode community measurements in the soil, particularly with soil C measurements, confirming the need for a holistic set of indicators to aid soil management. There was no single indicator of soil health for the Australian banana industry, but a set of soil health indicators, which would allow the measurement of soil improvements should include: bulk density, soil C, pH, EC, total N, extractable P, ECEC and soil nematode community structure.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science, Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© Crown Copyright.
Keywords:Agroecosystems; bioindicators; biological soil indicators; chemical soil indicators; Musa AAA; physical soil indicators; soil carbon; soil management; soil nematode community composition.
Subjects:Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Culture of individual fruits or types of fruit > Bananas
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Live Archive:02 Feb 2009 03:16
Last Modified:20 Dec 2022 01:58

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