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Assessment of Environmental Susceptibility/Vulnerability of Soils
Published December 10, 2002

Soils represent a considerable part of the natural resources of Hungary. Consequently, rational land use and proper soil management – to guarantee normal soil functions – are important elements of sustainable (agricultural) development, having special importance both in the national economy and in environment protection.
The main soil fu...nctions in the biosphere are as follows: conditionally renewable natural resource; reactor, transformer and integrator of the combined influences of other natural resources (solar radiation, atmosphere, surface and subsurface waters, biological resources), place of „sphere-interactions”; medium for biomass production, primary food-source of the biosphere; storage of heat, water and plant nutrients; natural filter and detoxication system, which may prevent the deeper geological formations and the subsurface waters from various pollutants; high capacity buffer medium, which may prevent or moderate the unfavourable consequences of various environmental stresses; significant gene-reservoir, an important element of biodiversity.
Society utilizes these functions in different ways (rate, method, efficiency) throughout history, depending on the given natural conditions and socio-economic circumstances. In many cases the character of the particular functions was not properly taken into consideration during the utilization of soil resources, and the misguided management resulted in their over-exploitation, decreasing efficiency of one or more soil functions, and – over a certain limit – serious environmental deterioration.
Soil resources are threatened by the following environmental stresses:
– soil degradation processes;
– extreme moisture regime;
– nutrient stresses (deficiency or toxicity);
– environmental pollution.
Environmental stresses caused by natural factors or human activities represent an increasing ecological threat to the biosphere, as well as a socio-economic risk for sustainable development, including rational land use and soil management.
The stresses are caused by the integrated impacts of various soil properties, which are the results of soil processes (mass and energy regimes, abiotic and biotic transport and transformation and their interactions) under the combined influences of soil forming factors. Consequently, the control of soil processes is a great challenge and the main task of soil science and soil management in sustainable development.
The efficient control of these processes necessitates the following consecutive steps:
• registration of facts and consequences (information on land and soil characteristics, land use, cropping pattern, applied agrotechnics, yields, with their spatial and temporal variability);
• evaluation of potential reasons (definition and quantification of soil processes, analysis of influencing factors and their mechanisms);
• assessment of the theoretical, real, rational and economic possibilities for the control of soil processes (including their risk-assessment and impact analysis);
• elaboration of efficient technologies for the „best” control alternatives (best management practice).
Scientifically based planning and implementation of sustainable land use and rational soil management to ensure desirable soil functions, without any undesirable environmental side-effects, require adequate soil information. In the last years such data were organized into a computer-based GIS soil database in Hungary, giving opportunities for the quantification, analysis, modelling and forecasting of the studied environmental stresses and for the efficient and scientifically based prevention, elimination or reduction of environmental stresses and their unfavourable ecological and economical consequences.
Special attention was paid to the assessment of various soil degradation processes, as: (1) soil erosion by water or wind; (2) soil acidification; (3) salinization and/or alkalization; (4) physical degradation (structure destruction, compaction); (5) extreme moisture regime: drought sensitivity and waterlogging hazard; (6) biological degradation; (7) unfavourable changes in the plant nutrient regime; (8) decrease of natural buffering capacity, (9) soil (and water) pollution.
The actions against undesirable environmental stresses and their unfavourable consequences are important elements of sustainable, efficient, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound crop production and agricultural development. These are joint tasks of the state, decision makers on various levels, the land owners, the land users and – to a certain extent – of each member of the society.

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Optimized balance between crop productivity, restoration and maintenance of vital soil functions and soil carbon sequestration and storage – the SmartSOIL (FP7) project
Published November 13, 2012

Soils provide the most indispensable function of supporting the production of food and feed for a growing human population. At the same time they provide a range of regulating and supporting functions related to climate change and removal of greenhouse gases. The majority of the soil functions are closely linked to the flows and stocks of soil carbon (SOC); low levels of both flows and stocks may seriously interfere with several of the essential soil functions and thus affect the ecosystem services that soils deliver. Soil degradation is considered a serious problem in Europe and a large part of the degradation is caused by intensive cultivation practices in agriculture. The aim of the SmartSOIL project is to link the results of different scientific fields through a holistic and multidisciplinary approach and as a result develop a decision making tool contributing to sustainable development.

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Soil biological challenges in our age
Published November 13, 2012

The paper deals with the soil biological research and its contribution to the changed cropping strategy and to the sustainable and environmentally friendly farming and management. The paper emphasizes the importance of biodiversity, as one of the most important ecological functions of soil. The organisms, populations and communities living in t...he soil play a key importance in the preservation of soil fertility. The most important research areas are presented dealing with in the last decades the national researchers and the challenges we face regarding the current soil biological problems. We have to prepare to examine the soil biological effectiveness of the more widely spread bio-preparations, bacterium preparations, and bioregulators. The prerequisites are the versatile knowledge of the biological state of soils and monitoring examination of the different effects soils had (including the mentioned preparations).

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SIM Samples Investigation by Statistical Methods
Published May 11, 2003

The assessment of the present condition of the soil is very important, because the accession of the number of the European Union members is in the near future. This can be the base of the modern agrarian environmental management programme. The assessment must be objective, detailed and analyse the processes in the soil.
Respecting the above ...causes was decided to create an Environmental Information Monitoring System. This system consists of more parts. One of them is the Soil Information Monitoring System (SIM). This system started to work in 1992.
This system has two functions. Creating and actuation is obligatory from the international contracts, on the other hand the public SIM has very important role in the conservation of the soil.
The SIM territorial measuring grid consists of 1236 measuring points. These points are representatives. The distributions of the points by the types of soil attend the variety of the types of soil of the country.
The investigated elements in 6 types of soil were in our experiment (the group of scandium and the lanthanide series elements). There are 6 elements above the detection limit (Gadolinium, Neodymium, Praseodymium, Scandium, Samarium, Yttrium).
The Neodymium concentration is 2 times higher than the content of Gadolinium and Yttrium.
The Neodymium concentration is 4 times higher than the content of Praseodymium, Scandium and Samarium.
In the case of Dysprosium, Europium, Lutetium, Terbium, Ytterbium the concentrations were below 1 mg/kg.

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Change of mineral and organic nitrogen forms in a long term fertilization experiment (literature)
Published March 11, 2014

The research topic has timeliness, since the rational utilization and protection of the soil, besides the conservation of its diverse functions is part of the sustainable development. Research of the long-term experiments is esentially important, because it can model the term effects in the same place, under the same conditions. If we want to accurate informations about the occured changes, way and danger of changes, we should track the resupply and effect of the mineral nutrients and the removed quantity of nutrients with the harvest. Nitrogen is an essential element for living organisms, it is present in the soil mainly in organic form. In general only only a low percentage of the total nitrogent content can be used directly by plants in the soil. This inorganic nitrogen is produced by the transformation of organic contents through mineralization processes and it get into the soil by the fertilization. The plants incorporote the mineral nitrogen into our bodies. This is how nitrogen turnover is realized when mineral forms become organic and organic forms become mineral.

The purpose of our paper is to make a literature before our research.

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Development of a Decision Assisting Soil Information System in Agriculture
Published May 4, 2004

Hungarian agriculture may be characterized by the industry-like, conventional farming of the past decades. This form of management concentrated exclusively on functions aimed at production. We have to decrease this disproportion, especially when joining to the EU, by reducing the intensive agricultural regions and adjusting to the goals of the ...2000-2006 NAEP programmes, forming such an agricultural system which integrates the advantages of both environmental protection and complex agricultural systems based on rational foundations. Nevertheless it’s a rational decision to make the soil information system with an exact spatial informatics background as a foundation of agricultural system, because this promotes easy handling as well the connection to possible subsequent modules.

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Spatially Continuous GIS Analysis of Sampling Points Based on Yield and Quality Analysis of Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris L.)
Published March 4, 2005

The homogeneity of a study area of 20x20 m used for beetroot production in North-West Hungary was analysed with geo-statistical methods on the basis of measured plant and soil parameters. Based on variogram calculations (Equation 1 and 2), the yield surface showed homogeneity in North-South direction. Considering the results, decrease of distance to 17 m can be suggested. The direction of the variability of yield (Figure 1) could be modelled with a direction variogram based on analysis of the variogram surface. In the study, developed methodological processes are presented for the analysis of spatial relationship between measured production and soil parameters. 5 spatial evaluation methods for yield surface were compared (Table 1). On the basis of the analysed methods, it can be stated that different methods (LP, RBF) should be used when the reasons for locally extreme yields are in focus than in case when the yield surface of the whole area is estimated (IDW, GP). Using adequate parameters the kriging method is applicable for both functions. Similarly to the results of an ordinary Pearson correlation analysis, spatial correlation analysis was shown using soil pH and Cu concentration data. The results of cross variogram analysis (Equation 2) and the North-South direction of the variogram surface showed negative correlation (Figure 3). Based on simulation calculations, decrease of 30% in sampling points resulted in increase of 12% in error for the total sample number considering Cu concentration. The method provides a tool to decrease the cost of sampling and sample analyses of spatially correlating features, and to increase the reliability of spatial estimation using a better sampling strategy with the same sample number.

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Effect of Ferilizer on the Yield of Maize (Zea mays L.)
Published September 15, 2003

The effect of fertilization on the yield of maize was examined on chernoem soil with lime deposits at the experimental station at Látókép of the Center for Agricultural Sciences, University of Debrecen. The yields of maize were evaluated using quadratic regression function, in three years – between 2000 and 2002 – in non-irrigated and ir...rigated treatments. After calculating the regression equations, by derivation of the functions, we have determined the amount of fertilizers needed for maximum yield.
In the non-irrigated treatments, maximum yield and the active substance amount of fertilizer was as it follows: in 2000, yield of 9,133 t/ha with the application of 384 kg/ha mixed active substance, while in 2002 a yield of 6,289 t/ha with the application 236 kg/ha NPK active substance was achieved. In 2001, due to the favourable precipitation, a yield of 9,864 t/ha was achieved with the application of 245 kg/ha fertilizer. In the case of maximum yield, compared to the unfertilized control, the yield increase was 2,5-5 t/ha. The average increase for 1 kg of NPK fertilizer was 13-19 kg.
We also determined the necessary fertilizer dosage for maximum yield in irrigated treatments. In 2000, 10,003 t/ha with a dosage of 423 kg/ha, in 2001, 11,542 t/ha with a dosage of 277 kg/ha and in 2002, 8,596 t/ha of maximum yield could be achieved with a fertilizer treatment of 277 kg/ha in the examined three years. The yield increase, in irrigated treatments, varied between 3,9-5,9 t/ha so it was greater than in the case of non-irrigated experimetal plots. The yield increase for 1 kg fertilizer varied between 12-21 kg.

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Evaluation of long term experiments from a new aspect
Published September 8, 2020

During our work, we developed a new, simple method to show the effects of fertilization on yield, which can both be applied over the long term as well as in series of independent experiments.
During the testing of this method, at the experimental farm of the Debrecen University Center for Agricultural Sciences at Látókép on a chernozem with lime deposits, we examined the fertilizer reaction of maize hybrids between 1989 and 1994. The treatments were: winter tillage, plant density of 70-80 thousand, unfertilized, N 120, N 240 kg/ha fertilized treatments, long term experiments using Dekalb 524 and Volga SC hybrids in long term experiments.
Four parameters are shown in the model. In the examined period TRmax represents the greatest yield in the fertilized treatments, NT the yield in unfertilized treatment, k the „efficiency of fertilizer” to NT and b the depression-coefficient, where the expected value is zero. The expected grain yield of the fertilized treatments (Y), in the function of the unfertilized grain yield (x) is the following:

The parameters were determined using the Monte Carlo method, in the optimizing process the sum of deviation square was minimized. The correct conformation of the functions was determined by the greatness of the R-value and the standard error. We found that during six years of testing, the tendency of fertilization efficiency was similar in the case of both hybrids. There was an unfavorable weather interval and, in these years, the yields were low, fertilization did not have an effect and moreover, in extremely bad conditions resulted in an obvious yield decrease. With the  improvement of conditions, which in the case of our country means an increase in precipitation, the efficiency of fertilization increases and reaches its peak at 13-14 t/ha. At this point, the yield increasing effect of fertilization is 4-4,5 t/ha. If the yield of the unfertilized treatments increases from 8-9 t/ha, then the efficiency of the applied fertilizer decreases.
Most likely, the k and b parameters depend on the soil of the experimental location (nutrient and water management) and on the amount of  pplied fertilizer and the characteristics of the  hybrid. With the increase of fertilizer dosage the k-parameter also increases. The greater value though does not obviously mean a more favorable situation. It is true that in medium and good years this means great fertilizer efficiency, but in low or extreme precipitation conditions it also means greater risk. With the increase of the k-parameter, the yield deviation also increases which, from a cultivation point of view, is quite unfavorable. If the value of the b-parameter is other than, zero then the effect is clearly unfavorable, because with the increase of this value, the yield decrease is also greater. The fertilizer reaction of the two examined hybrids can be well characterized by these two hybrids.
Examining the six years, our created model estimated the effect of fertilization on the yield accurately and with a high degree of safety. Both in highly unfavorable and extremely good years, it gave an exact estimate. In our opinion, it can be used well to evaluate the effects of fertilization on yield in the future.

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