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This article is part of the Research Topic

Soil Evolution and Sustainability

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Environ. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00016

Quantified soil evolution under shifting agriculture in southern Cameroon

 Martin YEMEFACK1*, Rosaline NJOMGANG2 and  David ROSSITER3
  • 1International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (Cameroon), Cameroon
  • 2Laboratoire d’Analyses des Sols, Plantes, Eaux et Engrais (LAPSEE), Institut de Recherche Agronomique de Développement (IRAD), Cameroon
  • 3Section of Soil & Crop Sciences, Cornell University, United States

In the tropical rain forest zone of Southern Cameroon, shifting cultivation and perennial plantations of cocoa are the main farming systems practiced by small-scale farmers to ensure subsistence food crop production and a small income. This research used scientific modelling tools to produce quantitative information on the evolution of soils under this shifting agricultural system. An analysis of farming system led to the development of a conceptual model of the spatio-temporal dynamics of shifting agriculture, including transition matrices of rotational cycles that guided the sampling strategy for the study of soil evolution under the system. The study of soil variability showed that 30-35% of the total variance of some topsoil (0-20 cm) properties was due to the influence of land use practices. Five soil properties (pH, calcium, available phosphorus, bulk density and organic carbon) that are the most sensitive to these agricultural practices were empirically modelled and linear/quadratic fractional rational functions were successfully fitted to time series soil variables to derive quantitative measures on temporal changes in soil with land use. Data and methods produced are useful for soil quality assessment and spatio-temporal dynamic simulation in order to guide decision-making for sustainable land-use planning and soil resources management.

Keywords: Soil properties dynamics, Soil evolution, Modelling soil dynamics, Shifting agriculture, Tropical rain forest

Received: 03 Jul 2018; Accepted: 23 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Christina Bogner, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Reviewed by:

Dominique Arrouays, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France
Zamir Libohova, United States Department of Agriculture, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 YEMEFACK, NJOMGANG and ROSSITER. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Martin YEMEFACK, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (Cameroon), Yaoundé, Cameroon, myemefack@yahoo.fr