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Models for determination of soil quality index (SQI) in savannah areas of São Paulo State, Brazil

Grant number: 12/13484-3
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2012 - October 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Marisa de Cassia Piccolo
Grantee:Marisa de Cassia Piccolo
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Jose Carlos Casagrande ; Jose Geanini Peres ; Marcio Roberto Soares


Cerrado is the second largest biome in Brazil, with approximately two million km2. This region is responsible for one third of the grain, half of meat and most of the cotton production, which is intended for the foreign market. However, the need to minimize environmental impact without yield reductions leads for alternatives to achieve sustainable production. The soil, as the basis for sustainable production, has been the subject of several researches. Soil quality (SQ) can be defined as the integration of biological, physical and chemical soil properties; however, other thought lines have emerged. One line seeks to identify the best soil quality index (SQI). Another line just focus on soil organic matter and an alternative line analyzes processes in soil-plant system, aside soil properties. From the last comes the systemic approach of QS. Therefore, the aim of this study is to understand the processes and point out the best and the most practical model for determination of SQI, which can be use to for natural and agro systems. At Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar, São Carlos), five areas will be selected: cerrado sensu stricto, anthropic cerrado, eucalyptus, sugarcane and pasture. In each area, samples will be taken for chemical, physical and microbiological analysis, and three models will be tested: organic matter, additive and weighted additive. Organic matter will be fractioned in many parameters; the additive model represents the sum of chemical, physical and microbiological properties and the weighted additive model will work with the soil-plant interaction, establishing functions and considering its importance by assigning values. (AU)

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