Properties and Nutrient Status of Degraded Soils in Luzon, Philippines

Michelle Ann M. Calubaquib1, Ian A. Navarrete2*, and Pearl B. Sanchez1

1Soils and Agroecosystems Division, Agricultural Systems Cluster, College of
Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna 4031, Philippines
2Department of Environmental Science, School of Science and Engineering,
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, 1108, Philippines

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A prerequisite to soil management, particularly in degraded soils, is a good knowledge of the characteristics and fertility status of degraded soil, which is fundamental to planning suitable soil management strategies for crop production purposes. The aim of this study was to determine the physico-chemical and mineralogical properties and fertility constraints of degraded soils in Luzon, Philippines. Ten surface soil samples were collected from 10 degraded soils representing the dominant soil series in Luzon Island. These soils were analyzed for physical, chemical and mineralogical properties. Results revealed that all soils have high clay content (except Bantay soil), which impedes cultivation. All soils were acidic, have a very low organic matter (OM), total N, available P, and low to moderately low exchangeable cations. X-ray diffraction reveals the dominance of halloysite/kaolinite, quartz and hematite in all soils. Results further revealed that all soils have fertility constraints, particularly acidic soils, low OM, low total N, and low available P. All soils contain sufficient exchangeable Ca, but low to high exchangeable K, particularly in soils of Annam, Bolinao, Bantay and Cervantes. Together, these results suggest that all soils possess physical and chemical constraints to crop production and the occurrence of constraints varies with soil type, location in the landscape, slope and parent material. The recognition of these fertility constraints is essential for the long-term planning of soil management strategies essential to sustainable utilization of these degraded soils.

Drastic use and poor management of soil resources for agriculture can lead to soil degradation, a process that lowers the capacity of soils to produce goods or services (Blum 1998). The soil deterioration process has tremendous consequences considering the important functions of soils for plant production, buffering, transformation, filtering, geogenic, cultural heritage and infrastructure (Blum 1998). While soil degradation studies have been widely conducted in other tropical areas (Scherr & Yadav 1996; Obalum et al. 2012; Pimentel & Burgess 2013; Constantini & Lorenzetti 2013; Liang et al. 2013), a generalized understanding and knowledge of degraded soil, including its assessment and management are limited in the Philippines (Asio et al. 2009; Navarrete et al. 2013). The Philippines National Action Plan (NAP 2004) for 2004 to 2010 considered soil degradation as a severe environmental problem in the country. . . . . read more

ALCALA AC. 1997. Keynote address. Proceedings of International Conference on Reforestation with Philippine Species. ViSCA-GTZ Ecology Project, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines.
ASIO VB, CABUNOS CC, CHEN ZC. 2006. Morphology, physicochemical characteristics, and fertility of soils from Quaternary limestone in Leyte, Philippines. Soil Sci 171: 648-661.
ASIO VB, JAHN R, PEREZ FO, NAVARRETE IA, ABIT SM JR. 2009. A review of soil degradation in the Philippines. Ann Trop Res 31: 69-94.
BAUTISTA A, BRIONES AM. 1988. CEC measurement of some Philippine soils. Philipp J Crop Sci 13: 115-120.
BLAKEMORE LC, SEARLE PL, DALY BK. 1987. Methods for chemical analysis of soils. New Zealand Soil Bureau of Scientific Report 80. Lower Hutt, NZ.
BLUM WEH. 1998: Basic Concepts: degradation, resilience, and rehabilitation. In: Lal R, Blum WEH. eds. Methods for Assessment of Soil Degradation, Advances in Soil Science.  Boca Raton: CRC Press p.1-16.
CARATING RB, GALANTA RG, BACATIO CD. 2014. The Soils of the Philippines. Springer 363p.
CHESWORTH W. 1973. The parent rock effect in the genesis of soil. Geoderma 10: 215-225.
CONSTANTINI EAC, LORENZETTI R. 2013. Soil degradation processes in the Italian agricultural and forest ecosystems. Italian J Agron 8: 233-243.
CRAMB RA. (ed). 2001: Soil conservation technologies for smallholder farming systems in the Philippine uplands: a socioeconomic evaluation: Australia: ACIAR
DRIESSEN PM, DUDAL R. 1991. The Major Soils of the World. Lecture Notes on their Geography, Formation, Properties and Use. AUW and KUL, Netherlands, 309 pp.
FERNANDEZ NC, DE JESUS JI. 1980. Philippine soils: Their distribution, general land use and parent materials. NFAC/UPLB Countryside Action Program. University of the Philippines at Los Banos College Laguna.
GARRITY DP. 1993. Sustainable land-use systems for sloping uplands in Southeast Asia. In: Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture in the Tropics. (Eds Ragland, J., and Lal, R.), pp. 41-66, ASA Special Publ. No. 56, Madison, WI.
HABY VA, RUSELLE MP, SKOGLEY EO. 1990. Testing soils for potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In: Westerman, R.L. (ed.). Soil Testing and Plant Analysis. 3rd ed. Madison, WI: SSSA.  p.181-227.
KAMPRATH E. 1980. Soil acidity in well-drained soils of the tropics as a constraint to food production. In: Priorities for Alleviating Soil-Related Constraints to Food Production in the Tropics. Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines: IRRI.  p.171-187.
LANDON JR (ed.). 1991. Booker Tropical Soil Manual. Longman Scientific and Technical, England.
LIANG Y, LIN X, YAMADA S, INOUE M, INOSAKO K. 2013. Soil degradation and prevention in greenhouse production. SpringerPlus 2013 2 (Suppl 1): S10.
LINDSAY WL, NORVELL WA. 1978. Development of a DTPA soil test for zinc, iron, manganese, and copper. Soil Sci Soc Amer J 42: 421-428.
NATIONAL ACTION PLAN (NAP). 2004: The Philippine National Action Plan to combat desertification, land degradation, drought, and poverty for 2004-2010. Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Agrarian Reform, Manila, Philippines.
NAVARRETE IA, TSUTSUKI K, ASIO VB. 2013. Characteristics and fertility constraints of some degraded soils in Leyte, Philippines. Arch Agr Soil Sci 59: 625-639.
PIMENTAL D, BURGESS M. 2013. Soil Erosion Threatens Food Production. Agriculture 3: 443-463.
OBALUM SE, BURI MM, NWITE JC, HERMANSAH, WATANABE Y, IGWE CA, WAKATSUKI T. 2012. Soil degradation-induced decline in productivity of sub-Saharan African soils: the prospects of looking downwards the lowlands with the Sawah Ecotechnology. Applied Environ Soil Sci olume 2012: 1-10.
QUANTIN P. 1990. Specificity of the halloysite-rich tropical and subtropical soils. 14th Intern Cong Soil Sci, Japan, Vol. VII: 16-21.
SCHERR SJ, YADAV S. 1996. Land degradation in the developing world: Implications for food, agriculture, and the environment to 2020. Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Discussion Paper 14. 37p.
SANCHEZ PA. 1976. Properties and Management of Soils in the Tropics. Wiley and Sons, New York. 617p.
SCHEFFER F, SCHACHTSCHABEL P. 1992. Lehrbuch der Bodenkunde. Durchgesehene Auflage. FerdinandEnke Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany. 491p.
SCHLICTING E, BLUME HP, STAHR K. 1995: Bodenkundliches Practicum (2nd ed.). Berlin: Blackwell. 295p.
SOIL SURVEY STAFF. 2014. Keys to Soil Taxonomy. 12th ed. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, NI.
THOMAS GW. 1982. Exchangeable cations. In ‘Methods of soil analysis. Part 2. Chemical and microbiological properties. 2nd ed (Ed. AL Page) Madizon, WI: SSSA. p.159-165.
TISDALE SL, NELSON WL, BEATON JD. 1985. Soil Fertility and Fertilizers. 4th ed. New York; Macmillan Publishing Co., New York.