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Land-Use Change Impacts on Soil Processes: Tropical and Savannah Ecosystems

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This book examines the effects that land-use changes (notably agricultural intensification, logging, soil erosion, urbanisation and mining) have on soil characteristics and processes in tropical and savannah environments. It covers a range of geographical regions and environments as impacts of land use change are often site specific. The effects of land use change on various aspects of the soil ecosystem from both a chemical and biological perspective will be examined.

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1: Land-use Change Impacts on Soil Processes in Tropical and Savannah Ecosystems: An Introduction

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Land-use Change Impacts on Soil Processes in Tropical and Savannah Ecosystems:

An Introduction

Francis Q. Brearley1* and Andrew D. Thomas2

School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University,

Manchester, UK; 2Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth

University, ­Aberystwyth, UK

1

1.1  Introduction

For most of history, few things have mattered more to human communities than their relations with soil.

(McNeill and Winiwarter, 2004, p. 1627)

Soils are the thinnest, outermost layer of the Earth’s land surface: a complex, heterogeneous combination of weathered parent material, living and dead organic matter, water and gases upon which humans are wholly dependent. Soils take thousands of years to fully develop; yet poor management can lead to rapid and ultimately detrimental changes in their physical, chemical and biological characteristics. The disparity between the time taken to form and the speed with which soils can degrade means they are inherently fragile and thus require prudent management. There is, however, widespread evidence to suggest that careful and sustainable soil management is not the norm, and that the global soil resource is being depleted, threatening the numerous ecosystem services they provide (Banwart, 2011;

 

2: Effects of Land-use Changes on Biochemical and Microbial Parameters in Soils of the Andaman Islands, India

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Effects of Land-use Changes on Biochemical and Microbial Parameters in Soils of the Andaman Islands, India

Raghavan Dinesh,1* Arkalgud Ganeshamurthy2 and Subrata Ghoshal Chaudhuri3

1

ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut, Kerala, India; 2ICAR-Indian

Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India; 3ICAR-National

Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (Regional Centre), Salt Lake City,

Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

2.1  Introduction

Large areas of forest in the tropics are presently undergoing deforestation due to anthropogenic influences such as forest clearance, human settlement and conversion for agriculture (Gibbs et al., 2010; Villoria et al., 2014). It is well known that forest clearance for agriculture, an increasingly prevalent situation in the tropics, removes natural vegetation, reduces biodiversity, and simplifies the landscape and ecosystem structure

(Li et al., 2005; Rosa et al., 2014). The effects of these changes include reductions in productivity because of increasing losses of nutrients and soil; downstream impacts, such as reductions in water quality through increased sedimentation and changes in water yield; and widespread

 

3: Evaluating the Impact of Oil Palm Agriculture and Logging on Soil Microbial Communities in South-east Asia

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Evaluating the Impact of Oil Palm

Agriculture and Logging on Soil Microbial

Communities in South-east Asia

Heather D’Angelo,1* Krista L. McGuire,1,2 Caitlyn Gillikin,2

Francis Q. Brearley3 and Dina C. Merrer4

1

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia

University, New York, USA; 2Department of Biology, Barnard College, Columbia

University, New York, USA; 3School of Science and the Environment, Manchester

Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK; 4Department of Chemistry,

Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, USA

3.1  Introduction

Since the mid-1900s, South-east Asia’s lowland rain forests have been subjected to intense, largescale deforestation, driven mainly by selective logging and, more recently, agricultural expansion of oil palm plantations (Flint, 1994; Sodhi et al., 2004; Wilcove and Koh, 2010). As a result,

South-east Asia now has the highest rate of tropical deforestation in the world, accounting for nearly half of total global forest cover loss

(Hansen et al., 2013). These human disturbances have created mosaics of old-growth forest, regenerating forest and oil palm monocultures across the terrestrial landscape, which have

 

4: Microbial Functioning in Response to a Simulated Drought in Malaysian Rain Forest and Oil Palm Soils

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Microbial Functioning in Response to a

Simulated Drought in Malaysian Rain Forest and Oil Palm Soils

Francis Q. Brearley*

School of Science and the Environment,

Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

4.1  Introduction

Land-use change is known to affect the diversity and composition of soil microbial communities in a range of tropical ecosystems (Bossio et al.,

2005; Verchot, 2010; Dinesh et al., Chapter 2, this volume; Mendes et al., Chapter 5, this volume).

In addition, land-use change also affects soil

­nutrient status through a reduction in carbon

(C) input leading to knock-on changes mediated through soil microbial communities. While the focus of most of the research into the effects of land-use change on soils has been on their chemical properties and on the diversity of soil organisms/microbes, much less work has been conducted on the impacts on ecosystem functioning, such as functional stability.

One major land-use transition currently

­occurring in South-east Asia is the conversion of forested lands to oil palm plantations, which are a highly profitable agricultural crop (Koh et al.,

 

5: Impact of Land-use Changes in the Amazon on Bacterial Diversity, Composition and Distribution

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Impact of Land-use Changes in the Amazon on Bacterial Diversity, Composition and

Distribution

Lucas W. Mendes,1,2 Acácio A. Navarrete,1,2 Clóvis D. Borges,1

Eiko E. Kuramae2 and Siu Mui Tsai1*

1

Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture

CENA, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 2Microbial Ecology Department,

Netherlands Institute of Ecology NIOO-KNAW, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

5.1  Introduction

Soil-living microorganisms represent the largest biodiversity pool on Earth, with more than 1030 microbial cells and estimates of 104 to 106 species per gram of soil (Whitman et al., 1998; Torsvik et al., 2002; Roesch et al., 2007). With their enormous numbers, large biomass and involvement in numerous key biogeochemical functions, soil microbial communities hold a central place in terrestrial ecosystems. Soil microbial communities carry out essential ecosystem functions (Bardgett et al., 2008), including nutrient cycling, facilitating plant nutrition, ­disease suppression, water purification and biological attenuation of pollutants. Nowhere are soil microbial communities likely to be more complex than under tropical rain forests, which house the majority of plant diversity on Earth (Dirzo and Raven, 2003; Kreft and

 

6: Acidification of Tropical Soils under Forest and Continuous Cropping in Thailand and Indonesia

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Acidification of Tropical Soils under

Forest and Continuous Cropping in Thailand and Indonesia

Kazumichi Fujii,1,2* Chie Hayakawa,2,3 Shinya Funakawa2 and Takashi Kosaki4

1

Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan; 2Graduate

School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan; 3National Institute for

Agro-Environmental Science, Ibaraki, Japan; 4Department of Tourism Science,

Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan

6.1  Introduction

In the humid tropics, shifting cultivation is an extensive farming system on typically highly weathered and leached soils (Nye and Green­ land, 1960; Kyuma and Pairintra, 1983; Mertz et al., 2009). Owing to rapid population growth, traditional shifting cultivation with an adequa­ tely long fallow period has been replaced with more intensive cropping systems with shorter fallow periods or continuous cropping (Kyuma and Pairintra, 1983; Mertz et al., 2009). Since restoration of soil fertility is dependent upon a  sufficiently long fallow period, continuous cropping risks widespread soil degradation and reductions in plant productivity in Asian countries.

 

7: The Importance of Soil Quality in the Safe Practice of Urban Agriculture in Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa

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The Importance of Soil Quality in the Safe

Practice of Urban Agriculture in Zimbabwe,

Kenya and South Africa

Lovemore Chipungu,1 Hangwelani H. Magidimisha,2

Michael Hardman3* and Luke Beesley4

1

School of the Built Environment and Development Studies,

University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; 2Human Science

Research Council, Demography Governance and Service Delivery, Durban,

South Africa; 3School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, UK; 4Environmental and Biochemical Sciences,

The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, UK

7.1  Introduction: Urban Soils as Vital

Pseudo-natural Capital

Urban soils, waters and wastes are a valuable natural capital asset for the world’s burgeoning urban population. The utilization of this capital is beginning to be recognized as fundamental to strategies for ensuring a safe and secure food supply in many countries. This idea of growing in the city, or ‘urban agriculture’, is a relatively new concept in certain parts of the world, although ample literature exists on the practice in the North American context (see, e.g. Mougeot,

 

8: Urbanization and Soil Nutrient Challenges and Opportunities: Lessons from Malawian Cities

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Urbanization and Soil Nutrient

Challenges and Opportunities: Lessons from Malawian Cities

David D. Mkwambisi,1* Andrew J. Dougill,2

Philip Antwi-Agyei2,3 and Chikondi P. Chabvuta4

1

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bunda College Campus,

Lilongwe, Malawi; 2Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment,

University of Leeds, Leeds, UK; 3Department of Environmental Science, College of

Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana;

4

Centre for Community Organization and Development, Lilongwe, Malawi

8.1  Introduction

It is estimated that the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa will double to about 600 million by 2030 (FAO, 2012). This urbanization has come with a recognition that strategies for meeting current and future urban food supply requirements are insufficient (Mougeot, 2005; Hovorka et al., 2006; Zezza and Tasciotti, 2010) and that impacts on urban environmental conditions are poorly understood (Grimmond et  al., 2002; Lu et al., 2010). In particular, the impact of urbanization on urban food production systems and soil nutrient cycles needs additional research. The need to consider urban land management practices that can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and enhance carbon storage is increasingly being discussed at an international level (e.g. Rosenzweig et  al., 2011; Bulkeley and Castán Broto, 2013;

 

9: Impact of Gold Mining on Mercury Contamination and Soil Degradation in Amazonian Ecosystems of French Guiana

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Impact of Gold Mining on Mercury

Contamination and Soil Degradation in

Amazonian Ecosystems of French Guiana

Michel Grimaldi,1* Stéphane Guédron2 and Catherine Grimaldi3

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Institute of Ecology and

Environmental Sciences of Paris, Bondy, France; 2ISTerre, Université Grenoble,

Grenoble, France; 3INRA, Rennes, France

1

9.1  Introduction

As early as the 16th century, major expeditions were searching for gold and other precious metals and ores in the ‘New World’ (Nriagu,

1994; Tandeter, 2006). Later, in the middle of the 19th century, gold rushes that started in

California spread to South America, as well as

Australia and South Africa (Nriagu, 1994; Ali,

2006). Their main goal was to extract alluvial gold, occurring as fine particles in sediments derived from soils and weathered rocks. Another more current strategy of artisanal mining groups is to extract eluvial gold concentrated in the soil as fine particles and nuggets, originating from the in situ weathering of rocks. The extent of such artisanal small-scale gold mining

 

10: Erosion and Sedimentation Effects on Soil Organic Carbon Redistribution in a Complex Landscape in Western Ecuador

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Erosion and Sedimentation Effects on Soil Organic Carbon Redistribution in a Complex Landscape in Western Ecuador

Marife D. Corre,1* Jeroen M. Schoorl,2 Free de Koning,3

Magdalena López-Ulloa4 and Edzo Veldkamp1

1

Büsgen Institute – Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems,

Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany; 2Soil Geography and

Landscape, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands;

3

Conservation International Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador; 4Environmental Engineering,

Universidad de las Americas, Quito, Ecuador

10.1  Introduction

Soil organic carbon (SOC) contains a large

­proportion of the nutrient-holding capacity of most soils and contributes to important structural properties such as aggregate stability, fertility, erodibility and water-holding capacity.

In recent years, losses of SOC due to land-cover change and agricultural practices have contributed about 12 to 15% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere (~1.2 Pg C year–1), the bulk of  which is released from tropical regions (Le Quéré et al., 2009, Van der Werf et al.,

 

11: Pastoralism and Kalahari Rangeland Soils

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Pastoralism and Kalahari Rangeland Soils

Andrew D. Thomas,1* David R. Elliott,2 Tasmin N.L. Griffith2 and Helen Mairs2

1

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University,

Aberystwyth, UK; 2School of Science and the Environment, Manchester

Metropolitan University, UK

11.1  Introduction

Grazing lands cover almost half the global land area and an estimated 70% of the world’s poorest billion people rely on income generated from pastoralism (FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISS-CAS/JRC, 2009).

In rural dry sub-humid environments such as the Kalahari, pastoral farming is the only viable livelihood for most people, and cattle are central to the Tswana way of life. Cattle not only provide a major source of household income, but confer prestige to families within their communities (Campbell, 1990). The vast majority of livestock are reared on communal land where fences are absent and grazing resources are shared. The absence of surface water in the

Kalahari means that animals are dependent on groundwater from boreholes (Perkins and

 

12: Changes in Soil Properties with Sugarcane Cropping in Mauritius

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Changes in Soil Properties with

Sugarcane Cropping in Mauritius

L. Ronald Ng Cheong* and Gunshiam Umrit

Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute, Moka Road,

Réduit, Mauritius

12.1  Introduction and Review of Literature

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum; Poaceae) was first introduced into Mauritius in 1639 by Dutch settlers (North-Coombes, 1993) and today it is the major crop on the island, occupying some

64,000 ha, or one-third of the land area (MSIRI,

2011). However, crop yields are declining, a phenomenon that has also been observed in Australia

(Garside et al., 2001), which can be attributed to biological causes, such as a reduction in soil microbial biomass (SMB; Holt and Mayer, 1998) or the presence of soil organisms such as fungal root pathogens or the lesion nematode (Pankhurst et al., 2003). Other possible causes have been identified, including a combination of increased soil acidification, loss of soil organic matter (SOM) and accumulation of deleterious soil organisms

(Meyer and Van Antwerpen, 2001). More soil degradation is expected to occur with the increasing use of machinery, combined with large-scale rock removal and land preparation. Therefore, understanding the impacts of sugarcane cropping on soil processes is important to avoid further soil degradation. The effects of sugarcane cropping on soil have been mostly ­inferred from comparisons between soils under sugarcane and soils from adjacent uncultivated zones (e.g. Garside et al., 1997)

 

13: Patterns and Drivers of Soil Carbon Stocks and Isotopic Composition in Secondary Tropical Dry Forests of Costa Rica

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Patterns and Drivers of Soil Carbon

Stocks and Isotopic Composition in Secondary

Tropical Dry Forests of Costa Rica

Jennifer S. Powers,1,2* David W.P. Manning3 and Justin M. Becknell1

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul,

USA; 2Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, USA; 3Odum

School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, USA

1

13.1  Introduction

Soils contain a large pool of organic carbon (C) that may increase or decrease in response to changes in land use and management (Blair and McLean, 1917; Greenland and Nye, 1959;

Schlesinger, 1977; Powers et al., 2011). Natural reforestation or forest regeneration on lands that were previously used for agriculture or grazing is occurring to different degrees across the tropics (Chazdon, 2008) and understanding how this affects C stored in vegetation and soils is an important question with relevance for the global C cycle. Simple conceptual models typically assume that ecosystem C stocks including biomass and soil C (throughout the text we refer to soil organic carbon as soil C) are depleted during forest-to-pasture conversion, but gradually increase as agricultural lands are abandoned and secondary forests regenerate (Fig. 13.1) (Detwiler and Hall,

 

14: Conversion of Pastures into Tectona grandis Plantations in Western Panamá: Effects on Soil Properties and the Mechanisms Underlying these Changes

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Conversion of Pastures into Tectona grandis Plantations in Western Panamá:

Effects on Soil Properties and the

Mechanisms Underlying these Changes

1

Luitgard Schwendenmann1* and Simon Kaiser2

School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand;

2

Tropical Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Georg-August University

Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

14.1  Introduction

The establishment of forest plantations on pastures and cropland has the potential to lead to carbon (C) sequestration and may contribute to the restoration of ecosystem services (Fisher,

1995; Montagnini and Jordan, 2005). Where trees have rapid growth rates, particularly in the tropics and sub-tropics, the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and subsequent storage in aboveground biomass through naturally regenerating secondary succession, afforestation

(i.e. planting in an area where the previous vegetation was not forest) and reforestation (i.e. planting of forests on lands that were forested but that have been converted to non-forested land; CBD, 2003) is large (Silver et al., 2000; Lal et al., 2005). In this chapter, reforestation will be used to cover both reforestation and afforestation activities unless specified otherwise.

 

15: Land-use Change Impacts on Soil Processes in Tropical and Savannah Ecosystems: Emerging Themes and Future Research Directions

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Land-use Change Impacts on Soil

Processes in Tropical and Savannah Ecosystems:

Emerging Themes and Future Research

Directions

Andrew D. Thomas,1* Marife D. Corre,2 Luitgard Schwendenmann,3

Edzo Veldkamp,2 Kazumichi Fujii,4,5 Krista L. McGuire,6,7

David D. Mkwambisi,8 L. Ronald Ng Cheong,9 Jennifer S. Powers10,11 and Francis Q. Brearley12

1

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University,

Aberystwyth, UK; 2Büsgen Institute – Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical

Ecosystems, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany;

3

School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Auckland,

New Zealand; 4Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute,

Tsukuba, Japan; 5Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University,

Kyoto, Japan; 6Department of Biology, Barnard College, Columbia University,

New York, USA; 7Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology,

Columbia University, New York, USA; 8Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lilongwe, Malawi; 9Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research

 

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