Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Exploring Soil-Landscape Relationships on the Pacific Slope of Monteverde, Costa Rica Public Deposited

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  • Landscape positions have been used to determine soil properties. My soil study in Monteverde on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica was designed to examine soil-landscape relationships for sites with various land use histories and management. Soil pits were dug at Nacimiento y Vida, Crandell, Curi-cancha, La Calandria, and Finca Rodriguez. Nacimiento and Curi-cancha are restored pastures, while Crandell, La Calandria, and Finca Rodrigez are restored farms. Soils were point sampled in the surrounding spaces around the pits in order to provide more landscape scale information on soil property variations. I found that each site had significant differences from the next and as a result, analysis should be done individually. There were a few significant relationships that held true for all sites. Percent clay and percent carbon yielded a negative relationship, while percent sand and percent carbon yielded a positive relationship. Percent carbon and depth yielded a negative relationship, as did percent nitrogen and depth and percent sand and depth. Percent sand and percent nitrogen yielded a positive relationship, while percent clay and percent nitrogen yielded a negative relationship. The significant relationship between percent sand and percent carbon is likely the result of the presence of volcanic ash in my soil samples. Volcanic ash can fall into the same particle size class as sand (2 mm) for the purposes of particle size analysis. Volcanic ash particles are very porous and increase the soil’s ability to store carbon. Sandier soils may be a helpful indicator for appropriate planting locations during future tropical forest restoration. Soil color indexes such as PDI (Profile Darkness Index) and RR (Redness Rating) were utilized to provide information on soil carbon content and clay content for the probe points. Statistical analysis revealed a lack of a strong relationship between the indices and slope. PDI and RR were thus not good measures to determine carbon and hematite content based on slope. Future studies that plan to utilize color indices in this region should be weary and maintain a degree of caution.
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