Assessment of Soil Productivity Potentials in Hot Semi-Arid Northern Transition Zone of India using Riquier Index and GIS Techniques

Denis M. K. Amara, Patrick A. Sawyerr, Saidu D. Mansaray, Philip J. Kamanda


In the present study, assessment of soil productivity was undertaken in Singhanlli-Bogur microwatershed in the hot semi-arid agro-ecological region of the northern transition zone of Karnataka, India. Nine intrinsic soil characteristics were evaluated using the parametric approach proposed by Riquier. The study revealed that there was no excellent productivity class both in terms of actual and potential productivity. In terms of actual productivity, more than half of the area (396.3 ha) which makes up 52.1% of the study area was poor in productivity, 42.6 ha (5.6 %) was extremely poor in productivity, 161.6 ha (21.3 %) showed average productivity and 144.0 ha (18.3%) was good in productivity. On the other hand, in terms of potential productivity which is the productivity that the soil is expected to show after soil improvements are done, almost half of the area (365.7 ha) which makes up 48% of the study area was average in productivity, 135.9 ha (19.9%) was poor in productivity while 242.9 ha (31.9) showed good productivity. It is expected that there will be no extremely poor productivity class in the study area after soil improvement. This is probably due to improvement in previously limiting soil characteristics. Organic matter was found to be the most limiting factor for crop production in the study area. In lowland soils especially clay soils, drainage was found to be a major limiting factor for crop production. It was suggested that the addition of organic matter through manuring, green manuring, crop rotation etc. and fertilisers, as well as improving the soil drainage conditions through excess water removal by reclamation and ridging, would increase the potential productivity of the soils. In addition, agronomic measures like sowing of close-spaced erosion-resistant crops, intercropping, strip cropping with cover management practices and mechanical measures like continuous contour trenches would improve organic matter and structure as well as conserve water and protect soils from erosion especially in the uplands.


Soil Productivity, Riquier Index, GIS, Erosion, Soil Properties

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