Relationships between local soil classification and parametric suitability indexes in a community of colonizers in the Alto Beni region of Bolivia

Jorge Zapata-Muñoz, Isabel Morales-Belpaire, Luis F. Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Alto Beni, a valley of the Andean foothills of Bolivia, is inhabited by farmers who migrated from highlands less than 70 years ago. There is a need for land evaluation and land use planning in this region. The land evaluation must consider the farmer’s knowledge of soil and other components. We aimed to assess how the local knowledge about soils agreed with results obtained by laboratory analysis. Moreover, farmers’ soil preferences were compared to the soil components of land suitability indexes obtained by following a framework proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization. The farmers classified their soils into five classes. Only the soils classified as clayey and sandy were clearly in agreement with the values obtained for texture in the laboratory. However, farmers’ preferences for certain soils coincided with soils with the best suitability indexes. This compatibility between local knowledge and calculated suitability indexes could facilitate the use of both sources of information for decision-making on soil use.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Ecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the MacArthur Foundation grant 74031-0 to Instituto de Ecología (Universidad Mayor de San Andrés).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Andean foothills
  • Bolivia
  • Ethnopedology
  • Local soil classification
  • Suitability index

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