Friday, 14 July 2006

Georeferenced System of Soil Quality Indicators for the Eastern Plains of Colombia.

Yolanda Rubiano, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical CIAT, A.A. 6713, CIAT, COLOMBIA, Cali, Colombia

The Georeferenced System of Soil Quality Indicators (GEOSOIL) for the savannas of Colombia was conceived of as a tool for supporting decision-making in land use planning. It makes it possible to store, consult and interpret data on both the soil and its biophysical surroundings on different scales: plot, farm, community, municipality, province, region and country. It operates from a relational database (ACCES 2000), composed of a series of structured main tables with information at different hierarchical levels that makes it possible to characterize the properties of the soil. The morphological and analytical elements of the soil are combined to form quality indicators by means of a scoring system that visualizes the extent and the number of limitations that a soil can have if it is to be used in agriculture. The manner of scoring the limitations for their interpretation goes from 1=no limitations, 2=slight, 3=moderate, 4=severe to 5=very severe limitations. Soil quality is associated with the extent and number of limitations that diminish its productive capacity. In addition the system has modules in which the user can: (a) add or consult spatial characteristics and properties of the soil; (b) visualize the interpretation of the quality indicators, grouped according to the limitation rankings; (c) determine the general appropriateness of the soil for a specific crop by comparing supply (soil) versus demand (crop requirements); (d) calculate fertilization requirements; (e) generate in-depth reports of the variability of some characteristics for one or more soils; (f) map the results through a link with GIS MapMaker; and (g) visualize maps of spatial and/or temporal variability (isolines) of the variable used as the indicator

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