Although sugarcane is considered one of the most sustainable crops for the production of biofuels, the expansion of cultivation areas, together with the current practices of soil and crop management used, have raised controversial issues regarding the sustainability of this crop, especially because the cultivation system used by most sugarcane producers has been causing degradation of soil quality and compromising crop production. In order to answer the global demand for biofuels, the perspectives are for an increase in sugarcane cultivation areas, and that is why it is essential that the management systems used do not compromise the quality of soils and economic and environmental sustainability. Therefore, in order to identify cultivation systems and management practices that most contribute to improving the sustainability of sugarcane production, this study aims to assess the soil quality of soils cultivated with sugarcane in the long term, under different systems of management under different climatic conditions. For this, visual analyzes and soil collections to determine physical, chemical and biological indicators will be carried out in long-term experimental areas of sugarcane production at the Agricultural Center of Louisiana State University, to assess the soil quality of the soils cultivated with and without the adoption of conservation practices (minimum soil tillage, crop rotation and crop cover) in a subtropical climate in the USA. Subsequently, the soil quality obtained in the USA will be compared with the soil quality of soils cultivated in a tropical climate in Brazil, under similar conditions, in order to assess the influence of the climatic difference. It is expected that regardless of the climate, systems that adopt conservation practices are the ones that least impact the sustainability of sugarcane production by ensuring better soil quality.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: