Abstract

The objective of this research was to obtain an

index that could serve as a useful tool for environmental

assessment and managing agricultural banana soils in

Panama. The work was performed in five independent farms

from Alanje District and six properties belonging to the

Cooperative COOSEMUPAR in Baru (2005-2006). The soils

belong to the orders Inceptisols (Andic Dystrudepts, Udic

haplustepts and Dystric haplustepts) and Entisols (Andic

Udifluvents). For the description of the indicators, four pits

were opened for each area of high and low productivity in

the band of fertilization of recently flowered banana plants.

Biometric data were recorded of twenty banana plants

near harvest. In addition, each site was measured for basic

infiltration, total weight of roots and sampled to determine

the physico-chemical and biological properties of the soil.

In all farms high levels of Ca, Mg and K were detected,

low concentrations of organic matter associated with low

biological activity and low microbial biomass. In most farms

infiltration was slow and degraded structures were present in

the lower horizons. The Minimum Data Set (MDS) that best

predicted areas of high and low productivity was composed

of the following indicators: percentage of sand, pH, Ca, K,

organic matter, microbial respiration, mineralization rate and

total weight of roots.

Keywords: Musa spp, biological activity, banana plantations.