Soil fertility in silvopastoral systems integrating tree legumes with signalgrass (Urochloa decumbens Stapf. R. Webster)

  • Ana María Herrera Angulo Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira
  • Alexandre Carneiro Leão de Mello Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco
  • Valéria Xavier de Oliveira Apolinário Universidade Estadual do Maranhão
  • José Carlos B. Dubeux Jr North Florida Research & Education Center, University of Florida
  • Robert Emilio Mora Animal Science Department. Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • Erinaldo Viana de Freitas Instituto Agronômico de Pernambuco
Keywords: agroforestry systems, Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp., Mimosa caesalpiniifolia Benth., soil chemical properties


Silvopastoral Systems (SPS) can increase overall productivity and generate continuous income in order to stimulate simultaneous growth and development of trees, forage and livestock. Moreover, the SPS with tree legumes would be important for add nutrients to the system, mainly N, and ensure the soil health and quality. Soil properties were assessed in two SPS, implanted in 2011, using tree legumes and Urochloa decumbens Stapf. R. Webster (Signalgrass). Treatments were Signalgrass + Mimosa caesalpiniifolia Benth (Sabia) and Signalgrass + Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp. (Gliricidia), and they were allocated in a randomized complete block design, with three replications. Soil was sampled in 2013, 2017, and 2018, at 0, 4, and 8 m along transects perpendicular to tree double rows, from 0- to 20- and 20- to 40-cm layers. Soil chemical properties included pH, P, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Al3+, H++Al3+, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and base saturation. In addition, light fraction of soil organic matter (LF-SOM), soil basal respiration (SBR), and natural abundance of 13C of the respired CO213C-CO2) were analyzed. Soil pH (5.3, 5.2, 5.1), P (11.3, 7.2, 3.6 mg dm-3), and CECeffective (5.8, 5.1, 5.0 cmolc dm-3) decreased (P < 0.05) along the years 2013, 2017, and 2018, respectively. In 2018, the LF-SOM and δ13C-CO2 was greater in Sabia (1.1 g kg-1 and -16.4‰) compared to Gliricidia (0.7 g kg-1 and -18.2‰). Silvopastoral systems reduced soil fertility regardless of the tree legume species used as result of biomass nutrient stock, without maintenance fertilization. Sabia had greater deposition of LF-SOM, without increasing SBR, providing potential for microbial C use efficiency. Enriched C-CO2 isotope composition shows an efficient SOM oxidize in SPS with Gliricidia or Sabia. This information can contribute to the assessments related to CO2 balance and C retention. Both SPS contribute to C sequestration.


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Author Biographies

Ana María Herrera Angulo, Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira

Investigador-Docente de la Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira (UNET).

Alexandre Carneiro Leão de Mello, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco

Possui graduação em Agronomia pela Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (1995), Mestrado em Zootecnia pela Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (1998), Doutorado em Ciência Animal e Pastagens pela Universidade de São Paulo (2002) e Pós-doutorado pela University of Florida-USA (2023). Atualmente é Professor Titular do Departamento de Zootecnia da Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, atuando tanto na graduação como no Programa de Pós-graduação em Zootecnia. Tem experiência na área de Zootecnia, com ênfase em Forragicultura e Pastagens, atuando principalmente nas seguintes linhas: produção e conservação de forragem, avaliação de plantas forrageiras, fisiologia e morfologia de plantas forrageiras, manejo de pastagens, sistemas integrados de produção agropecuária.

José Carlos B. Dubeux Jr, North Florida Research & Education Center, University of Florida

Dr. Dubeux’s research addresses critical global challenges including climate change, the need for sustaining or achieving greater soil quality, and reduction in use of fossil-fuel intensive, off-farm inputs. The overall goal of his program is to improve nutrient return and distribution in pastures and to increase nutrient use efficiency. This is important not only to reduce the use of fertilizer in situations where nutrients are scarce, but also to reduce nutrient load in the environment when nutrient balance is positive. He has been developing forage production systems with an N-fixing legume component. Legumes add N to the system, improving cattle diet and reducing the need to add fertilizer. 


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How to Cite
Herrera Angulo, Ana María, Alexandre Carneiro Leão de Mello, Valéria Xavier de Oliveira Apolinário, José Carlos B. Dubeux Jr, Robert Emilio Mora, and Erinaldo Viana de Freitas. 2023. “Soil Fertility in Silvopastoral Systems Integrating Tree Legumes With Signalgrass (Urochloa Decumbens Stapf. R. Webster)”. Archivos Latinoamericanos De Producción Animal 31 (4), 287-98.
Original paper