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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Land Use Change from Natural Forest to Livestock on Soil C, N and P Dynamics along a Rainfall Gradient in Mexico

1
Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
2
Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
3
Centro de Investigación en Ciencias de Información Geoespacial, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexico City 14240, Mexico
4
Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
5
Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
6
Colegio de Posgraduados, Campus Montecillos, Mexico State 56230, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208656
Received: 9 September 2020 / Revised: 6 October 2020 / Accepted: 9 October 2020 / Published: 19 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
The effects of converting native forests to livestock systems on soil C, N and P contents across various climatic zones are not well understood for the tropical region. The goal of this study was to test how soil C, N and P dynamics are affected by the land-use change from natural forests to livestock production systems (extensive pasture and intensive silvopastoral systems) across a rainfall gradient of 1611–711 mm per year in the Mexican tropics. A total of 15 soil-based biogeochemical metrics were measured in samples collected during the dry and rainy seasons in livestock systems and mature forests for land-use and intersite comparisons of the nutrient status. Our results show that land-use change from natural forests to livestock production systems had a negative effect on soil C, N and P contents. In general, soil basal respiration and C-acquiring enzyme activities increased under livestock production systems. Additionally, reduction in mean annual rainfall affected moisture-sensitive biogeochemical processes affecting the C, N and P dynamics. Our findings imply that land-use changes alter soil C, N and P dynamics and contents, with potential negative consequences for the sustainability of livestock production systems in the tropical regions of Mexico investigated. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; drought; rainfall regime; soil biogeochemistry climate change; drought; rainfall regime; soil biogeochemistry
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Figueroa, D.; Ortega-Fernández, P.; Abbruzzini, T.F.; Rivero-Villlar, A.; Galindo, F.; Chavez-Vergara, B.; Etchevers, J.D.; Campo, J. Effects of Land Use Change from Natural Forest to Livestock on Soil C, N and P Dynamics along a Rainfall Gradient in Mexico. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8656.

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