Nutrient dynamics in milpa agriculture and the role of weeds in initial stages of secondary succession in Belize, C.A.

  • Nutrient dynamics in milpa agriculture and the role of weeds in initial stages of secondary succession in Belize, C.A.

by J.D.H. Lambert and J.T. Arnason

 

Abstract

Nutrient levels, soil moisture and soil organic matter were monitored monthly during a three year period in a site cleared for shifting agriculture (milpa) and in adjacement undisturbed high bush forest soils in Belize. Throughout the study there was no evidence of a decline in available nutrient levels in the cleared site. Sharp changes in P and Mn were considered indicative of wetting and drying periods. Corn yields for the rainy season crop in the first two years were average for the region ca 2500 kgha -1 dry wt, but declined dramatically in the third year. Total weed biomass for the rainy season crop conversely increased every year and reduced grain yield probably through competition for nutrients (especially N), light and water. Substantial amounts of nutrients were also immobilized in the weed biomass, which served the agroecological purpose of preventing nutrient loss by leaching.

 

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Keywords: Burning, Corn, Nutrient, dynamics, Secondary, succession, Weeds

 

Suggested APA Reference: Lambert, J. D. H., & Arnason, J. T. (1986). Nutrient dynamics in milpa agriculture and the role of weeds in initial stages of secondary succession in Belize, CA. Plant and soil93(3), 303-322.

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