Monocultures In Agriculture

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1. INTRODUCTION Monocultures is a widely used agricultural practice that consist in producing or growing genetically similar, or essentially identical plants, over large areas, year after year. It has been shown that monocultures produce high yields as the plants growth without the pressure of other species and with uniform plant structure. However, monocultures are selected for specific conditions and when this conditions change there is a high risk of losing the entire crop. For that reason, several agricultural practices have been proposed in order to prevent the worsening of soil properties under long-term monocultures. The quality of the soil depends not only on its natural composition, but also on the changes caused by the human use…show more content…
Soil ecosystem is inhabited by a large number of microorganisms who carried out organic matter transformation and are the major source of soil enzymes (Said and Kpomblekou-A, 2009). Indeed, soil microbial biomass, through the decomposition of organic matter, releases nutrients into plant available forms, and degrades toxics. Schloter (2003) reported that soil microbial biomass and activity is an important aspect of soil quality. That is why microbial biomass is considered a sensitive parameter used to analyzed changes in organic matter composition of the soil (Brookes, 1995). In addition, traditionally used physical and chemical parameters of soil quality represent slowly changes in soil characteristics, such us soil structure or organic matter pool and nutrient balance (Shukla and Varma, 2011); whereas microbial biomass let us to measure changes in soil features in a short frame of time, which is more useful from the point of view of humans. Two microbial indices have been suggested to monitor soil quality changes: the microbial biomass C, N and P and soil microbial…show more content…
Dick (1997) found that among the reactions catalyzed by soil enzymes are the decomposition of organic inputs, transformation of native soil organic matter, released of inorganic nutrients, N2 fixation, nitrification, denitrification and detoxification of xenobiotics. As their activity can be affected by the agricultural practices, they have also been suggested as an index of soil microbial activity and fertility (Benitez et al., 2000). There are several reason why they are considered sensitive indicator of soil quality: they measure main microbial reactions involving nutrient cycles in soil; they respond rapidly to changes in both, natural and anthropogenic factors; and they are easily measured (Shukla and Varma, 2011) and produce reproducible results (Klaus Schaller, 2009). Moreover, they predict changes in soil environment (Shukla and Varma, 2011), allowing us to take action before the damage is

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