Visual assessment of the impact of agricultural management practices on soil quality

Alaoui, Abdallah; Barão, Lúcia; Ferreira, Carla S. S.; Schwilch, Gudrun; Basch, Gottlieb; Garcia‐Orenes, Fuensanta; Morugan, Alicia; Mataix‐Solera, Jorge; Kosmas, Costas; Glavan, Matjaž; Szabó, Brigitta; Hermann, Tamás; Vizitiu, Olga Petrutza; Lipiec, Jerzy; Frąc, Magdalena; Reintam, Endla; Xu, Minggang; Di, Jiaying; Fan, Hongzhu; Sukkel, Wijnand; ... (2020). Visual assessment of the impact of agricultural management practices on soil quality. Agronomy journal, 112(4), pp. 2608-2623. American Society of Agronomy 10.1002/agj2.20216

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The intensification of agricultural practices to increase food and feed outputs is apressing challenge causing deterioration of soil quality and soil functions. Such achallenge demands provision of empirical evidence to provide context-sensitive guid-ance on agricultural management practices (AMPs) that may enhance soil quality.The objectives of this study are to identify the most promising AMPs (and their com-binations) applied by farmers with the most positive effects on soil quality and toevaluate the sensitivity of the soil quality indicators to the applied AMPs. The effectof selected AMPs on soil quality was assessed using a visual soil assessment tool ina total of 138 pairs of plots spread across 14 study site areas in Europe and Chinacovering representative pedo-climatic zones. The inventory and scoring of soil qual-ity were conducted together with landowners. Results show that 104 pairs show apositive effect of AMPs on soil quality. Higher effects of the AMPs were observedin lower fertile soils (i.e., Podzols and Calcisols) as opposed to higher fertile soils(i.e., Luvisols and Fluvisols). For the single use applications, the AMPs with positiveeffects were crop rotation; manuring, composting, and no-tillage; followed by organicagriculture and residue maintenance. Cluster analysis showed that the most promis-ing combinations of AMPs with the most positive effects on soil quality are composedof crop rotation, mulching, and min-till. The agreement between scientific skills andempirical knowledge in the field identified by the farmers confirm our findings andensures their applicability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Alaoui, Abdallah, Schwilch, Gudrun


900 History > 910 Geography & travel




American Society of Agronomy


[698] Interactive Soil Quality Assessment in Europe and China for Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience
[803] Cluster: Land Resources




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

29 Jun 2020 16:59

Last Modified:

23 May 2023 19:07

Publisher DOI:





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