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Soil mapping for land-use planning in a karst area of N Thailand with due consideration of local knowledge

Last modified October 23, 2006 18:54

Schuler, U. , Choocharoen, C., Elstner, P., Neef, A., Stahr, K., Zarei, M., Herrmann, L. Soil mapping for land-use planning in a karst area of N Thailand with due consideration of local knowledge Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science Volume 169, Issue 3, April 2006, Pages 444-452

Schuler, U. , Choocharoen, C., Elstner, P., Neef, A., Stahr, K., Zarei, M., Herrmann, L. Soil mapping for land-use planning in a karst area of N Thailand with due consideration of local knowledge Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science Volume 169, Issue 3, April 2006, Pages 444-452

Abstract - For the development of sustainable land-management systems in the highlands of N Thailand, detailed knowledge about soil distribution and soil properties is a prerequisite. Yet to date, there are hardly any detailed soil maps available on a watershed scale. In this study, soil maps on watershed level were evaluated with regard to their suitability for agricultural land-use planning. In addition to common scientific methods (as underlying the WRB classification), participatory methods were used to exploit local knowledge about soils and to document it in a "Local Soil Map". Where the WRB classification identified eight soil units, the farmers distinguished only five on the basis of soil color and "hardness". The "Local Soil Map" shows little resemblance with the detailed, patchy pattern of the WRB-based soil map. On the contrary, the "Local Soil Map" is fairly similar to the petrographic map suggesting that soil color is directly related to parent material. The farmers' perception about soil fertility and soil suitability for cropping could be confirmed by analytical data. We conclude that integrating local soil knowledge, petrographic information, and knowledge of local cropping practices allows for a rapid compilation of information for land-evaluation purposes at watershed level. It is the most efficient way to build a base for regional land-use planning.

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