A Rapid, Farmer-Friendly Agroecological Method to Estimate Soil Quality and Crop Health in Vineyard Systems
Nicholls, Clara I.; Altieri, Miguel A.; Dezanet, Andre; Lana, Marcos; Feistauer, Diogo; Ouriques, Maykol
We describe a practical methodology to rapidly assess the soil quality and crop health of vineyard systems using sim-ple indicators chosen, applied and interpreted jointly by farmers and researchers. Field measurements are made on agroecosystem properties that reflect soil quality and plant health. As measurements are based on the same indicators, the results are comparable and allow farmers to monitor the evolution of the same agroecosystem along a timeline, or make comparisons between farms in various transitional stages. Once the indicators are applied, each farmer can vi-sualize in an amoeba diagram the conditions of his or her farm, noticing which of the soil or plant attributes are suf-ficient or deficient compared to a pre-established threshold. By applying the methodology simultaneously to several farms it is possible to visualize which farms exhibit low or high values of sustainability. Although the indicators re-ported here are specific to vineyards in northern California, with some modifications, this methodology is applicable to a broad range of agroecosystems in various eco-regions.
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