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Soil Health Impacts of Rubber Farming: The Implication of Conversion of Degraded Natural Forests into Monoculture Plantations

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Faculty of Forest Resources and Environmental Management, Vietnam National University of Forestry (VNUF), Xuan Mai, Chuong My, Ha Noi 10018, Vietnam
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Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, Perth, WA 6150, Australia
3
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ha Noi 00016, Vietnam
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Faculty of Forestry, Nong Lam University–Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City 71308, Vietnam
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Institute of Forest Ecology and Environment, Vietnam National University of Forestry (VNUF), Xuan Mai, Chuong My, Ha Noi 10018, Vietnam
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080357
Received: 13 June 2020 / Revised: 8 August 2020 / Accepted: 12 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
High revenues from rubber latex exports have led to a rapid expansion of commercial rubber cultivation and, as a consequence, the conversion of different land use types (e.g., natural forests) into rubber plantations, which may lead to a decrease in soil health. In this study in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, we determined: (1) the variation of soil health parameters along a chronosequence of rubber tree stands and natural forests and (2) the relationships and potential feedback between vegetation types, vegetation structures and soil health. Our results revealed that: (1) soil health was higher in natural forests than in rubber plantations with a higher values in higher biomass forests; (2) soil health was lower in younger rubber plantations; (3) soil health depends on vegetation structure (with significantly positive relationships found between soil health and canopy cover, litter biomass, dry litter cover and ground vegetation cover). This study highlights the need for more rigorous land management practices and land use conversion policies in order to ensure the long-term conservation of soil health in rubber plantations. View Full-Text
Keywords: rubber plantations; soil health; land conversion; monoculture crops; farm management rubber plantations; soil health; land conversion; monoculture crops; farm management
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Nguyen, T.T.; Do, T.T.; Harper, R.; Pham, T.T.; Linh, T.V.K.; Le, T.S.; Thanh, L.B.; Giap, N.X. Soil Health Impacts of Rubber Farming: The Implication of Conversion of Degraded Natural Forests into Monoculture Plantations. Agriculture 2020, 10, 357.

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