Organic matter and biofunctioning in tropical sandy soils and implications for their management

Blanchart Eric, Albrecht Alain, Bernoux Martial, Brauman Alain, Chotte Jean-Luc, Feller Christian, Ganry Francis, Hien Edmond, Manlay Raphaël, Masse Dominique, Sall Saidou, Villenave Cécile. 2005. Organic matter and biofunctioning in tropical sandy soils and implications for their management. In : First International Symposium on the management of tropical sandy soils for Sustainable Agriculture: A holistic approach for sustainable development of problem soils in the tropics, Khon Kaen, Thailand, November 28 to December 2, 2005. IRD. s.l. : s.n., 33 p. International Symposium on the Management of Tropical sandy Soils for Sustainable Agriculture. 1, Khon Kaen, Thaïlande, 28 November 2005/2 December 2005.

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Abstract : Tropical sandy soils (or upper sandy horizons of tropical soils) have diverse physical and chemical constraints: poor structural stability (making soils sensitive to crusting, and compaction), poor nutrient holding capacity and low cation exchange capacity. In these soils, in which the clay content is low (3 to 15% by mass), organic matter is the main determinant of fertility, nutrient storage, aggregate stability, microbial and enzymatic activities. However, cultural practices or land uses aimed at increasing organic matter stocks have a minor impact if compared with the potential storage of organic matter in clayey soils. Nevertheless, this stock increase is possible in sandy soils and is mainly linked with the increase of the "vegetal debris" functional pool. Like organic matter, the abundance, activity, and diversity of soil biota are largely dependent upon land management. In these soils, biotic interactions such as termites-microorganisms or nematodes-microorganisms modify nutrient fluxes, N mineralization being higher in soil-feeding termite mounds or in the presence of bacterial feeding nematodes. Moreover, the management of organic residues represents a means to control the activity of soil microorganisms and the structure of nematode and other fauna populations. An adequate management of organic matter (through fallows, improved fallows, pastures, exogenous organic inputs) through its consequences on soil biofunctioning, largely determines the agronomic (plant production) and environmental (carbon sequestration) potentials of sandy soils. In the present paper, we provide information on the biofunctioning in sandy soils, i.e., interactions existing between organic matter, biological activities (termites, earthworms, nematodes, microorganisms) and physical soil properties, in natural and cropped ecosystems. Data mainly originate from experiments and measurements from West (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast) and East (Kenya) Africa. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Système de culture, Conduite de la culture, Amendement du sol, Fertilité du sol, Micro-organisme du sol, Propriété physicochimique du sol, Sol sableux

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Sénégal, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya

Classification Agris : P36 - Soil erosion, conservation and reclamation

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Blanchart Eric, IRD (FRA)
  • Albrecht Alain, IRD (FRA)
  • Bernoux Martial, IRD (FRA)
  • Brauman Alain, IRD (SEN)
  • Chotte Jean-Luc, IRD (FRA)
  • Feller Christian, IRD (FRA)
  • Ganry Francis, CIRAD-CA-UPR Recyclage et risque (FRA)
  • Hien Edmond
  • Manlay Raphaël, ENGREF (FRA)
  • Masse Dominique, IRD (SEN)
  • Sall Saidou, IRD (SEN)
  • Villenave Cécile, IRD (FRA)

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Source : Cirad - Agritrop (

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