Effect of ecological and conventional managements on soil enzymatic activities in coffee agroecosystems

Efeito de manejos ecológico e convencional sobre atividades enzimáticas do solo em agroecossistemas cafeeiros

Johana Juliet Caballero Vanegas Karen Bibiana Mejía Zambrano Lizeth Manuela Avellaneda-Torres About the authors

ABSTRACT

Understanding the impacts of agricultural practices on soil quality indicators, such as enzymatic activities, is of great importance, in order to advance in their diagnosis and sustainable management. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of ecological and conventional agricultural managements on enzymatic activities of a soil under coffee agroecosystems. The enzymatic activities were associated with the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen (urease and protease), phosphorus (acid and alkaline phosphatase) and carbon (β-glucosidase), during the rainy and dry seasons. Physical-chemical soil proprieties were also assessed and related to resilience scores linked to the climatic variability reported for the areas under study. The activities of urease, alkaline and acid phosphatase and ß-glucosidase were statistically higher in ecological agroecosystems than in conventional ones. This may be attributed to the greater application of organic waste in the ecological environment, as well as to the absence of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which allow better conditions for the microbial activity. The resilience scores to the climate variability that showed the highest correlations with the assessed enzymatic activities were: the farmers' knowledge on soil microorganisms, non-use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and non-dependence on external supplies. It was concluded that the enzymatic activities are modified by the management systems, being specifically favored by the ecological management. This agroecosystem, in the long term, ensures an efficient use of the soil resources, with a lower degradation and contamination.

KEYWORDS:
Urease; protease; β-glucosidase; acid and alkaline phosphatase

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