Reuter, Manja-Christina: Limiting factors for the establishment of Cordia dodecandra A.DC. and Bixa orellana L. on semi-arid calcareous soils in Yucatan, Mexico. - Bonn, 2006. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Manja-Christina Reuter}},
title = {Limiting factors for the establishment of Cordia dodecandra A.DC. and Bixa orellana L. on semi-arid calcareous soils in Yucatan, Mexico},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2006,
note = {In Northern Yucatan, huge areas of abandoned sisal plantations, now assigned to the communities, require agroforestry management strategies that take into account the high spatial variability of soil, the lack of surface water, and the generation of income for farmers. To meet this challenge, an experimental plantation with the indigenous multi-purpose tree species Cordia dodecandra A.DC. (Siricote) for production of fruits and highly valuable timber and the food coloring crop Bixa orellana L. (Achiote) was established. The objective was to investigate the relationship between nutrient and water availability on the two dominant soils as limiting factors for growth of the two species and for nutrient uptake of C. dodecandra.
A total of 184 circles of four m diameter were planted with eight plants, each with four C. dodecandra and four B. orellana on red Cambisol and black Leptosol. Seven fertilizer treatments were applied in minus-one-trials (complete fertilizer minus N, P, K, Mn, and Zn), with three irrigation levels. An additional treatment consisted in the inoculation of seedlings with exotic VA mycorrhizae. The irrigation levels were defined as regular irrigation during the dry season, sporadic irrigation at the peak of dry season only, and a non-irrigated control. C. dodecandra trees from homegardens were used as a reference for the evaluation of foliar nutrient levels of C. dodecandra seedlings.
Results show that on calcareous semi-arid Yucatan soils, nutrient-water interactions and the availability of P, K, and Mn limited growth of C. dodecandra. Growth on Cambisol with adequate water supply was limited by low availability of P, K, and Mn. On Leptosol with adequate water supply, low K availability was a growth-limiting factor. When water was scarce, low P availability had a significant impact on growth on both soils. Our data indicate the importance of P-Zn interactions for nutrient uptake of C. dodecandra. The application of P fertilizer interfered with Zn uptake, while Zn applications had a negative impact on foliar P levels. Foliar nutrient concentrations of C. dodecandra trees in homegardens indicated a potential deficiency of P, Zn and Mn. On the experimental area, foliar Mn and Zn levels on both soils were at the lower limit for adequate growth. Nitrogen did not seem to be a growth-limiting element on none of the two soils. Inoculation of C. dodecandra with a mixture of Glomus mosseae, Glomus intraradices and Glomus deserticola reduced both survival as well as growth of seedlings. The dominant influence on survival and growth of B. orellana was water availability during the dry season. Although water availability had a major impact on growth of C. dodecandra as well, survival during the dry season of this species was high (between 93 and 96%) regardless of irrigation. C. dodecandra established and grew well on both soils with only sporadic irrigation during the dry season.
C. dodecandra seems to be suitable as a major component of agroforestry systems in Northern Yucatan, providing farmers a promising management option for degraded sisal plantation lands. The planting of B. orellana is recommended if regular irrigation during the first dry season is feasible. The inoculation of seedlings with exotic VA mycorrhizae is not advisable. The impact of low availability of P, K, and of the micronutrients Zn and Mn on plant growth and yields should be investigated further in order to develop measures for mitigation of low nutrient availability on Yucatan soils.},

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