INDICATOR INDEXING METHODS IN ASSESSMENT OF SOIL QUALITY IN RELATION TO WATER EROSION
Assessing the quality of agricultural soils is important for defining and adopting management practices that ensure socioeconomic and environmental sustainability. The methods for indexation of quality indicators called the Integrated Quality Index (IQI) and the Nemoro Quality Index (NQI) were used in this study to evaluate soil quality in experimental plots planted to eucalyptus. The selection of these indicators was made based on nine soil quality indicators: geometric mean diameter, water permeability, organic matter, macro- and microporosity, total porosity, bulk density, penetration resistance, and flocculation index, which are related to water erosion. Treatments consisted of eucalyptus planted on level land, with and without maintenance of residues on the soil surface, planted on a downslope, and planted on bare soil in two distinct biomes, whose native vegetation are Cerrado (Brazilian tropical savanna) and Forest. The soil quality indices (SQI) were highly correlated with erosion. Among the management systems, Eucalyptus with maintenance of the residues had higher values in both indices, highlighting the importance of plant cover and organic matter for soil and water conservation in forest systems. The SQI had a high inverse correlation coefficient with soil and water losses. Places with the highest rates of water erosion also had the lowest IQI and NQI values. Thus, the indices tested allowed efficient evaluation of the effects of the management practices adopted on soil quality in relation to water erosion.