version ISSN 0377-9424
CHINCHILLA, Miguel; ALVARADO, Alfredo and MATA, Rafael. Land capability for agricultural use in the middle-upper Pirrís River watershed, Los Santos, Costa Rica. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2011, vol.35, n.1, pp. 109-130. ISSN 0377-9424.
Land capability for agricultural use in the middle-upper Pirrís River watershed is mainly determined by altitude belts. Between 1075 and 1700 m asl, coffee production is the main agricultural activity on clayey Ultisols with important erosion manifestations. From 1700 to 3100 m natural forest, highland fruit trees, flowers, fish ponds, pastures, some vegetables, mountain cabins, and charcoal production are the main activities on predominant Andisol, Inceptisol, and Entisol soil orders. The area consists of mountains of steep (30-60%) slopes, and a few low-relief deep valleys with recent alluvial terraces. Visible features on agricultural lands allowed to estimate that 60% of this land suffers moderate erosion (laminar and reel); 18% of this land suffers severe erosion, to very severe not considering linear erosion due to poorly-designed secondary roads, no road drainage, excavations for infrastructure, and active landslides that cause large scale soil loses. Forty four % of the soils are deep, while 38% are moderately deep, and 17% are shallow to superficial. Fertility characteristics observed on peats all over the region show that 33% the soils are of low fertility and 52% of very low fertility. Considering relief features, suffered erosion, soil fertility, and soil depth, land use capability for agricultural activities in the watershed are: 1% Class III, 2% Class V, 8% Class VIII, 26% Class VII, and 63% Classes IV and VI.
Keywords : Land capability; land use; Los Santos; Talamanca.