Identification of regional soil quality factors and indicators: a case study on an alluvial plain (central Turkey)
- Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Agriculture Faculty, Selçuk University, 42079 Konya, Turkey
Abstract. Sustainable agriculture largely depends on soil quality. The evaluation of agricultural soil quality is essential for economic success and environmental stability in rapidly developing regions. In this context, a wide variety of methods using vastly different indicators are currently used to evaluate soil quality.
This study was conducted in one of the most important irrigated agriculture areas of Konya in central Anatolia, Turkey, to analyze the soil quality indicators of Çumra County in combination with an indicator selection method, with the minimum data set using a total of 38 soil parameters. We therefore determined a minimum data set with principle component analysis to assess soil quality in the study area and soil quality was evaluated on the basis of a scoring function.
From the broad range of soil properties analyzed, the following parameters were chosen: field capacity, bulk density, aggregate stability, and permanent wilting point (from physical soil properties); electrical conductivity, Mn, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, pH, and NO3-N (from chemical soil properties); and urease enzyme activity, root health value, organic carbon, respiration, and potentially mineralized nitrogen (from biological properties).
According to the results, the chosen properties were found as the most sensitive indicators of soil quality and they can be used as indicators for evaluating and monitoring soil quality at a regional scale.