Saturday, 15 July 2006

Erosion, Nutrient Loss and their Effects on the Landscape on Hungarian Sites.

Csaba Centeri1, Marton Vona2, Akos Malatinszky2, and Akos Pottyondi2. (1) Szent Istvan Univ, Dept of Nature Conservation, Pater K. u. 1., Godollo, 2100, Hungary, (2) Szent Istvan Univ, Dept of Landscape Ecology, Pater K. u. 1., Godollo, 2100, Hungary

Soil is one of the most important, non-renewable component of nature and landscape. Its protection is obligatory for sustaining the agricultural environmental as well as for the protection of the landscape and nature. Eroded soil material carries humus and important fertilizers from our arable lands. It causes problems in the soils, surface and underground waters of remote areas. Our target areas were at Somogybabod, Kisbabod, Alsoszuha and Galgaheviz. We examined the distribution of P2O5, K2O, CaCO3 and soil organic matter content under different plant covers (arable land – corn, potato, cereals, vegetated fallow, black fallow, alfalfa, Acacia forest and orchards), under different (upper, middle and lower) slope sections. Slope sections were targeted in the Hungarian Monitoring System. Laboratory experiments were done according to the Hungarian regulations at the Szent Istvan University, Dept. of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, at the Institute of Geography, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and at the Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Slope pairs were investigated. On one side of the slope there was a good (e.g. alfalfa, meadow, forest etc.) and on the other side a bad soil protection crop or other surface cover (e.g. corn, potato etc.). According to the results corn and potato can not provide necessary protection against P2O5 or K2O loss. The other plant covers had better results. However there was not always clear relation between slope sections and surface cover. It is important to have a certain amount of information about the landscape, the form of cultivation, the amount a fertilizer used etc. In the Alsószuha region, where arable lands were turned to grasslands 10-30 years ago, nutrient, humus and CaCO3 content of the soil was higher at the upper slope sections. High amount of these nutrient, humus and CaCO3 content were found at the bottom of the intensively cultivated slopes and low amount on extensively cultivated lands. On the intensive orchards of Galgaheviz P2O5 content of the soil was 2481 mg*kg-1, while on the extensive farmlands of Alsoszuha P2O5 content of the soil was 32 mg*kg-1, and on two grassy fallow on the farmland of Somogybabod P2O5 content of the soil was 8 and 22 mg*kg-1. It is interesting that forest cover does not necessarily mean that we find more even distribution of the P2O5 on the slope. The biggest difference between the slope sections' phosphorus content was on the reforested area of Somogybabod. P2O5 content of the soil was 17 mg*kg-1, on the upper third and 132 mg*kg-1 at the lower third of the slope. Based on the results it is possible to prepare a guidebook for farmers to help them choosing the plant that provide the best cover to protect soils form nutrient loss. Fertilizing with only the necessary amount of fertilizer, it is possible to reduce the pollution of surface and subsurface waters and the inputs of arable farming and to improve life quality. Thus the viability of the landscape can be increased and more attractive for those, searching for a place for living.It was interesting that on the eroded soils we found special, protected plant species, thanks to the erosion that made the original soil horizons thinner and to the tillage that brought CaCO3 up on the surface by mixing the thin soil layer with the loessy parent material. Our final conclusion was that the landscape is very complicated. A lot of aspects (pedological, botanical, hydrological, sociological etc.) must be considered in order to decide which land use practice should be the best for the given region.

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