Reports Summarize Forestry Study Results from University of Maryland
2012 APR 12 - (VerticalNews.com) -- "Alley cropping systems may influence soil water movement and the water budget because of its complex interactions between crop and tree rooting systems. The objective of this paper was to evaluate water balance and water competition in an alley cropping system, consisting of deciduous tree wild jujube (Choerospondias axillaris) and economic crop peanut (Arachis hypogaea) within subtropical China," scientists in College Park, Maryland report.
"Five treatments (20- by 6-m plots) with three replications were included in this study. The treatments were monoculture peanut cropping (P), monoculture younger trees (T1), monoculture older trees (T2), peanut intercropped with younger trees (T1P), and peanut intercropped with older trees (T2P). A multi-layered water balance model, with water movement between soil layers, was implemented by the measurement of soil water potential using sets of tensiometers during the periods from March 1999 to December 2002. The spatial and temporal variations of soil water regime indicated that the trees used soil water below the 60-cm soil depth and alleviated the water stress. The direction of soil water movement indicated that soil water moved to the tree row, which indicated that trees competed with peanuts for water, especially during the seasonal drought period. Water competition was related to the tree spacing and tree age. Compared to the tree monoculture systems, the alley cropping system significantly influenced water budget components and water use patterns, as indicated by the increased evapotranspiration (6-11%), and decreased net drainage (7-45%), water storage (6-29%), and runoff (50-60%). Furthermore, alley cropping systems encouraged the rapid growth of trees, and depressed the biomass and yield of peanuts by 20-50% associated with tree shading effects," wrote Y. Zhao and colleagues, University of Maryland.
The researchers concluded: "The results suggest that competition for water and light must be taken into account when optimizing the alley cropping system."
Zhao and colleagues published their study in Agroforestry Systems (Water use assessment in alley cropping systems within subtropical China. Agroforestry Systems, 2012;84(2):243-259).
For additional information, contact Y. Zhao, University of Maryland, Dept. of Environm Sci & Technol, College Park, MD 20742, United States.
The publisher's contact information for the journal Agroforestry Systems is: Springer, Van Godewijckstraat 30, 3311 Gz Dordrecht, Netherlands.
Keywords: City:College Park, State:Maryland, Country:United States, Region:North and Central America, Asia, Agriculture
This article was prepared by VerticalNews Agriculture editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2012, VerticalNews Agriculture via VerticalNews.com.