Physicochemical properties of soils in the Brazilian Amazon following fire-free land preparation and slash-and-burn practices

Comte Irina, Davidson Robert, Lucotte Marc, Reis de Carvalho Claudio, de Assis Oliveira Francisco, Pantoja da Silva Breno, Rousseau Guillaume Xavier. 2012. Physicochemical properties of soils in the Brazilian Amazon following fire-free land preparation and slash-and-burn practices. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 156 : pp. 108-115.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Outlier, Sujet : AGRICULTURE, MULTIDISCIPLINARY / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES / Quartile : Q2, Sujet : ECOLOGY

Abstract : Over a century, subsistence agriculture has been practiced in the Brazilian Amazon, using slash-and-burn as a traditional land clearing technique. However, fire clearing leads to nutrient losses, and the increasing demographic pressure reduces the duration of the fallow period, threatening the system sustainability. The chop-and-mulch land clearing method, combined or not with legume-enriched fallow, is a promising alternative technique as the retention of organic residues upon land clearance of fallow could promote soil fertility. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of fire-free land preparation on soil physicochemical properties by comparing the effects of traditional slash-and-burn with (i) chop-and mulch with enriched fallow in croplands and (ii) chop-and-mulch without enriched fallow in pastures. The chop-and-mulch of a legume-enriched fallow conserved soil bulk density, and significantly increased nutrient concentrations and organic matter content compared to the burnt cropland and the control forest. In the pastures, the use of chop-and-mulch of a non-enriched fallow had less impact on soil physical and chemical properties, excepted on water retention capacity and total P stock. Land clearing of fallows by chop-and-mulch, especially when enriched with legumes could significantly improve agriculture sustainability in the region and reduce the pressure on primary forests. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Agriculture de subsistance, Propriété physicochimique du sol, légume, Zone tropicale, Système de culture, Culture sous couvert végétal

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Brésil, Amazonie

Mots-clés complémentaires : Brûlis

Classification Agris : F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
P35 - Soil fertility
P33 - Soil chemistry and physics

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2005-2013) - Intensification écologique

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Comte Irina, Université de Québec (CAN)
  • Davidson Robert, Université de Québec (CAN)
  • Lucotte Marc, Université de Québec (CAN)
  • Reis de Carvalho Claudio, EMBRAPA (BRA)
  • de Assis Oliveira Francisco, UFRA (BRA)
  • Pantoja da Silva Breno, UFPA (BRA)
  • Rousseau Guillaume Xavier, Universidade Estadual do Maranhão (BRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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