Land Use Transition and Dynamic Soil Property Assessment for an Agricultural Soil of Plymouth County, Massachusetts

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Fall 2008

Project Description/Abstract

Land management affects the health and resilience of soil and can be measured via the changes that occur over time to soil physical, chemical and biological properties. Understanding changes attributable to land management transition can give important contribution to determining management practices that sustain soil health and resilience, and play a role in land use planning that best incorporates soil conservation. Benchmark soils have been identified by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as an important soil in the soils classification system, they are representative of a region and other soils within that region, and hold significance for particular land uses such as agriculture. This pilot project focuses on Woodbridge (benchmark soil series of the U.S. northeast) soils within Plymouth County, Massachusetts that were farmed until the 1800s and then transitioned to forest by the early 1900s as the western progression of U.S. agriculture occurred. The goals of this project are to determine how previously-cultivated soils' properties vary from those of currently-cultivated soil. The results could be significant to understanding how soil properties may be reestablished after transition from cultivation to forest and applicable to land use planning and soil conservation efforts.

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