l45 - Soil acidification Soil acidification is a process by...

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9 3 1 1 6 6 2 1 8 2 4 8 7 Soil acidification Soil acidification is a process by which soil pH decreases over time, and there are often no visible signs of the problem. Acidification can occur under natural conditions over thousands of years, with high rainfall areas most affected. However, rapid acidification can occur over a few years under intensive agricultural practices. Acidification can affect either the surface soil only or the subsoil as well. Surface acidity can be relatively simple to treat, and brings considerable benefits in plant growth and yield. Sub-surface acidity is difficult and costly to correct. Farmers in high-risk areas need to identify the problem as early as possible. Areas at risk Queensland has more than 500 000 hectares of agricultural and pastoral land that has acidified or is at risk of acidification. The higher rainfall coastal areas used for intensive agriculture are most susceptible. Soils most at risk are lighter-textured sands and loams with low organic matter levels, and the naturally acidic red clay loam soils commonly found in areas such as the South Burnett and Atherton Tableland. Soils least at risk are the neutral to alkaline clay soils (e.g. the black clay soils of the Darling Downs and Central Queensland, and brigalow soils). Farming and acidification Some farming practices accelerate soil acidification. Table 1 shows the results of a comparison of pH levels from an area under native vegetation and an adjacent cultivated area. The tests were conducted on a soil that was susceptible to soil acidification in the Burnett district. Factors that accelerate acidification include: applying ammonium-based nitrogen fertilisers to naturally acid soils at rates in excess of plant requirements leaching of nitrate nitrogen, originally applied as ammonium-based fertilizers, out of the root zone continual removal of plant and animal produce and
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2010 for the course 456 9852 taught by Professor Chaohue during the Spring '10 term at Mackenzie.

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l45 - Soil acidification Soil acidification is a process by...

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