Camelid populations and soil classification and fertility in the northwest of la paz (Bolivia)

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Bolivia: Social, Environmental and Economic Issues
  • Fecha: 01 January 2016
  • Páginas: 61-74
  • ISBN: 9781634849074
  • Source Type: Book
  • Document Type: Chapter
  • Publisher: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
© 2016 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Camelid populations are located at the Andean Plateau and produce essential incomes for native human population in Bolivia. Vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) is a wild endangered species which share territory and resources with other domestic camelids like alpaca (Lama pacos) in the National Apolobamba Integrated Area. Apolobamba is one of the poorest zones in La Paz Department. However, some natural resources such as the soil are much unknown. Further information is needed to determine their capacity to sustain the grazing activity in this area. The objectives of this survey were: a) to provide their edaphological classifications, b) to characterize the soil profiles in 8 zones with different vicuna and alpaca populations and c) to study their fertility based on physico-chemical properties. The investigation was conducted in Apolobamba Area, located in the Northwest of La Paz Department. Eight zones were selected taking into account the vicuna populations and the alpaca densities based on the last censuses data. One soil profile was identified in each zone and one sample was collected from each horizon. Two different key soil taxonomies were used to classify the soils. The most relevant physicochemical soil properties were studied to characterize the soils and to determine the fertility. Six different types of soils were identified according to the soil classifications in the 8 studied zones. In general, soils presented medium-high organic carbon, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, cation exchange capacity and exchangeable cation contents. Moreover, the soils exhibited low electrical conductivity, acid pH, null equivalent calcium carbonate contents and different textures. Regarding to the soil fertility, the zones with higher vicuna and medium and low alpaca populations exhibited better fertility according to the soil properties studied in the profiles. Conversely, higher alpaca populations and lower vicuna populations were located in those soils with lower fertility (zones 1 and 3). Based on these results, higher alpaca concentration seemed to be associated to lower soil fertility while higher vicuna populations were located in soils with better fertility (zones 7 and 8). This observation points out the necessity to carry out conservation actions in order to preserve the soil fertility particularly in zone 1. However, these actions should consider that productions from both wild and domestic camelids are one of the most important economical activities in Apolobamba.

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