Document Type : CASE STUDY


1 Departamento de Civil y Ambiental, Universidad de la Costa, 080002 Barranquilla, Colombia

2 Departamento de Productividad e Innovación, Universidad de la Costa, 080002 Barranquilla, Colombia

3 Departamento de Biología, Universidad del Atlántico, 081001 Puerto Colombia, Colombia

4 Departamento de Ciencias Empresariales, Universidad de la Costa, 080002 Barranquilla, Colombia


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Soil is the most important basic natural resource for the support of agricultural production systems. Productivity maintenance in these ecosystems depends on their physicochemical. However, there are no significant studies on the current status of soil fertility and quality in tropical areas vulnerable to climate change and lacking management practices. The purpose of this study was to assess the physical and chemical properties of the soil to propose guidelines on soil handling and management in tropical areas.
METHODS: Data on texture, macronutrients, micronutrients, and cation ratios were collected at 200 farms in the Sucre Department of Northern Colombia. Correlation analysis and principal component analysis were performed on the resulting data set, and a soil quality index was calculated.
FINDING: Macronutrients N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, and Na displayed average values of 21.65 ± 10.65 part per million, 40.35 ± 67.21 part per million, 0.46 ± 0.43 meq/100g, 7.94 ± 28.35 part per million, 15.63 ± 17.30 meq/100 g, 5.63 ± 3.58 meq/100g, 0.19 ± 0.20 meq/100g, respectively. Micronutrients Cu, Fe, Zn, and Mn displayed average values of 2.20 ± 1.66 part per million, 48.05 ± 37.87 part per million, 1.16 ± 1.26 part per million, 14.22 ± 12.24 part per million, respectively. The predominant texture among assessed soils was sandy clay loam. A significant correlation was found between (Ca/Mg) K-Ca/K, (Ca/Mg) K-Mg/K, Fe-Cu, and Ca-cation exchange capacity. The soil quality index of the soils assessed in the Department of Sucre indicates a high level of quality, which is strongly influenced by the indicators S, P, Mn (≥ 0.90) Fe, Zn, Cu, K, Na (≥ 0.80).
CONCLUSION: The macronutrients displayed a deficiency of potassium. It is therefore recommended to monitor these soils and apply fertilization plans according to the needs of each assessed soil. Lastly, this study provides relevant information for proposing guidelines for crop improvement.

Graphical Abstract

Soil fertility in agricultural production units of tropical areas


  • The Soil Quality Index value indicates that the evaluated soils are of high quality;
  • The SQI is strongly influenced by S, P, Mn (Nv ≥ 0.90) and Fe, Zn, Cu, K, Na (Nv ≥ 0.80);
  • The macronutrients P and Ca displayed high values and S displayed a low value;
  • High positive correlations were found between cationic relations, Fe-Cu and Ca-CEC.


Main Subjects

Open Access

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit:

Publisher’s Note

GJESM Publisher remains neutral concerning jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional afflictions.

Citation Metrics & Captures

Google Scholar Scopus Web of Science PlumX Metrics Altmetrics Mendeley |

Current Publisher

GJESM Publisher

Letters to Editor

GJESM Journal welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in GJESM should be sent to the editorial office of GJESM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.
[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.
[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.
[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.
[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.
[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.
[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.