Saturday, 15 July 2006

Utilization of a Soil Database for the Needs of Rural Area Management.

Piotr Sklowodowski1, Antoni Szafranek1, Anna Bielska2, and Aleksandra Polcik3. (1) Warsaw Univ of Technology, Dept of soil science and soil conservation, Plac Politechnki 1, Warsaw, 00-661, Poland, (2) Warsaw Univ of Technology, Dept. of Soil Science and Soil Conservation, Plac Politechnik 1, Warsaw, 00-661, Poland, (3) Warsaw Univ of Technology, Dept of Soil Science and Soil Conservation, Plac Politechniki 1, Warsaw, 00-661, Poland

Rational management of the environment, including the agricultural production land, requires particular knowledge of soil conditions. The soil is the product of the natural environment and it creates this environment itself. Comprehensive recognition of soil conditions, understanding of processes which occur in soils, acquisition and processing of soil information, performed for the needs of various users are the basic challenges which happens nowadays. Investigations of soils have been performed within the southern part of the High-Mazovia Upland. The basic objective of work was to present a role which is played by the soil in the agricultural landscape, and to prove that the proper management of soils is the basis for the sustainable development of rural areas. The numerical agropedological maps as well as the soil database were developed for the southern part of the High-Mazovia Upland; that soil database contains information on soil contours and their properties, as well as on the planned destination of soils. That database has been amended with additional results of tests and inventory of changes. In order to optimize the process of delineating areas, the following soil data were considered, which had been acquired from the agropedological map: complexes of agricultural usefulness, soil types and subtypes, granulometric composition of surface and subsurface layers, diversification of granulometric composition in a soil profile, area of soil contours, land use categories, soil classes. Considering the effectiveness of agricultural production, as well as environmental requirements, the data set has been enlarged with data concerning chemical analysis of soils. Basing on results obtained, demands for fertilizers, as well as buffer properties of soils have been investigated, and then, ways of using soils in particular complexes have been determined and areas have been designed: * Areas of integrated agricultural production.Within investigated municipalities, the areas of sustainable agricultural production have been delineated with consideration of soil conditions analysis, the structure of arable lands, the ratio between arable lands and green areas and the size structure of farms as well socio-economical conditions . The delineated areas include first of all soils of the 2nd good wheat complex and the 4th very good rye complex. Those areas could also include soils of the 5th - good rye complex the medium class soils, soils of the 6th - weak rye complex, as well as soils of the 8th cereal-fodder strong complex and the 9th - cereal fodder weak complex. Areas of production reserves, planned for ecological food production. The preferred method of maintaining the production reserves concerns fallowing of lands. Lands periodically used for agriculture have been delineated after consideration of physical and chemical properties of soils, the land use structure, social and economic aspects, forms of landscape and others. The fertility and quality of soils of the 5th -good rye complex, the 6th - weak rye complex and the 9th - cereal fodder weak complex prove that those soils could be used for ecological agriculture purposes in conditions of sufficient organic fertilizing, or that they could be periodically fallowed. Areas planned for afforestation. Following the guidelines concerning delineation of agricultural-and-forest borders, those soils should be included in VI or V classes, arable lands classified into the 7th agricultural usefulness complex, as well as arable lands, which do not allow for maintaining effective agricultural production, included in the 6th complex of agricultural production. The procedure of designing arable lands for afforestation should consider the series of economical, social and natural aspects, which are mutually related. First of all, the social aspect should be considered, as it would be impossible to afforest an entire village or a big area, where farmers live and work, considering agriculture as the only way to acquire funds for living. In such cases alternative solutions should be searched for, as, for example, introduction of elements of ecological agriculture.

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