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Soil degradation risk indicator: Soil salinity risk component

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Title: Soil degradation risk indicator: Soil salinity risk component
Author: Eilers, R. G.; Eilers, W. D.; Fitzgerald, M. M.
Abstract: Agricultural land use can impact the sustainability of inherent soil quality by its influence on the extent, severity and dynamics of soil salinity. To assess this impact, a salinity risk index (SRI) has been developed and applied to the agricultural region of the Canadian prairies utilizing land use data sets for 1991 and 1981. The analysis, presented in map form, shows the current status of dryland salinity for 1991, the current risk based on land use in 1991, and an analysis of the change in risk due to the change in land use from 1981 to 1991. The total extent of moderate or more severe salinity (ECe >8 dS/m) for the prairie region as determined from a summation of each provincial extent map, is 1.4 million ha. This area is depicted on a small scale extent map. The risk assessment using 1991 land use data indicates that 62.2% of the farm land has little to no risk of a change in salinity, 27.9% has a moderate risk and only 9.9% of the land has a high risk. A comparison of the risk index classes for the 1981 and 1991 land use data, indicates that risk of salinity for the majority of the land (92 %) has not changed, whereas less than 7 % of the land has a lower risk class and approximately 0.5 % has a higher risk class in 1991. These data are not presented in the context of trends but simply as observations at two points in time. It is proposed that this approach could be utilized periodically in the future to track impact of changes in land use on a landscape basis and thus serve as an indicator of agri-environmental sustainability. This information will be utilized by upper levels of government to target programs and agricultural policy.
Date: 1996
Rights: In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights Holder: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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