Indicators of Effective Mineral Cycle

Indicators of an effective mineral cycle include:

  1. There is a great deal of biological activity at the soil surface
  2. The soil surface is porous
  3. Soil is rich in organic matter
  4. A mature, stable mulch lies on the soil surface
  5. There is rapid plant material turnover, and no bottlenecks in the process
  6. Dung is rapidly returned into the soil
  7. Erosion is minimal
  8. Minerals are cycling from a full soil profile of both deep and shallow rooted plants
  9. Grazed plants have strong, healthy root systems
A covered soil surface generally leads to all the above.

An ineffective mineral cycle is indicated when

  1. The soil surface is exposed and (usually) capped
  2. There is low soil organic matter
  3. Plant material is slow to turnover and disappear so that much old, lignified and oxidising plant material remains standing
  4. Hard dung remains on the soil surface for many months or even a year or more
  5. There are many overgrazed, weak plants
A bare soil surface generally leads to all the above.

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