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Soil health impacts of rubber farming: The implication of conversion of degraded natural forests into monoculture plantations

Nguyen, T.T., Do, T.T., Harper, R.ORCID: 0000-0003-0268-2917, Pham, T.T., Linh, T.V.K., Le, T.S., Thanh, L.B. and Giap, N.X. (2020) Soil health impacts of rubber farming: The implication of conversion of degraded natural forests into monoculture plantations. Agriculture, 10 (8). Article 357.

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Abstract

High revenues from rubber latex exports have led to a rapid expansion of commercial rubber cultivation and, as a consequence, the conversion of different land use types (e.g., natural forests) into rubber plantations, which may lead to a decrease in soil health. In this study in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, we determined: (1) the variation of soil health parameters along a chronosequence of rubber tree stands and natural forests and (2) the relationships and potential feedback between vegetation types, vegetation structures and soil health. Our results revealed that: (1) soil health was higher in natural forests than in rubber plantations with a higher values in higher biomass forests; (2) soil health was lower in younger rubber plantations; (3) soil health depends on vegetation structure (with significantly positive relationships found between soil health and canopy cover, litter biomass, dry litter cover and ground vegetation cover). This study highlights the need for more rigorous land management practices and land use conversion policies in order to ensure the long-term conservation of soil health in rubber plantations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2020 by the authors
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/57421
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