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Estimation of Soil Loss Tolerance in Olive Groves as an Indicator of Sustainability: The Case of the Estepa Region (Andalusia, Spain)

Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution (BEE), Teaching Unit of Ecology (UDECO), Faculty of Biological Sciences, University Complutense of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Agronomy 2019, 9(12), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9120785
Received: 9 October 2019 / Revised: 14 November 2019 / Accepted: 19 November 2019 / Published: 21 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability of Crop-Livestock Systems)
Spain is the world's leading producer of olive oil, with the largest number of olive agro-systems in the Andalusia region. However, rural migration, low profitability, and biophysical limitations to production have compromised their sustainability. Soil erosion is the main cause of declining production and must be controlled to sustain production and keep soil loss below a threshold (soil loss tolerance, SLT). In this paper, the Soil Loss Tolerance Index (SLTI) for non-specific crops was calculated, theoretically, in different Andalusian olive-growing areas. A new Soil Loss Tolerance Index specifically for olive groves was developed (SLTIog) using soil variables related to erosion corresponding to the Estepa region. This index and the Soil Productive Index (SPI) were estimated. Andalusian olive groves with severe erosion were unsustainable for a 150-year period according to SLTI. However, applying the SLTIog in olive groves of Estepa, soil loss was not unsustainable. Although no statistically significant differences were detected between the two SLT indices, the consideration of specific soil variables in the SLTIog made it more accurate and reliable for the assessment of potential long-term sustainability. The use of specific indices for olive groves can inform the adoption of management measures to maintain productivity and support conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural indices; ground cover; irrigation; soil erosion; soil management; soil productivity; sustainable management agricultural indices; ground cover; irrigation; soil erosion; soil management; soil productivity; sustainable management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rodríguez Sousa, A.A.; Barandica, J.M.; Rescia, A.J. Estimation of Soil Loss Tolerance in Olive Groves as an Indicator of Sustainability: The Case of the Estepa Region (Andalusia, Spain). Agronomy 2019, 9, 785.

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