Utilization of organic soils in Puerto Rico

How to Cite

Lugo López, M. A., & Bonnet, J. A. (1951). Utilization of organic soils in Puerto Rico. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 35(2), 57–65. https://doi.org/10.46429/jaupr.v35i2.12821


There are more than 25,000 acres of organic soils in Puerto Rico, of which approximately 10 percent are under cultivation. They occupy very low topographical positions and in many instances brackish waters affect the profile. They were formed from the accumulation of leaves, twigs, roots, and other materials in lagoons and bays. The characteristic vegetation consists primarily of mangroves associated with other hydrophylic plants. Tiburones muck and Saladar muck make up more than 50 percent of the total acreage of Puerto Rican organic soils. These soils are generally well supplied with humus and nitrogen. Although they seem to be well supplied with calcium, and available phosphorus and potassium, it should be remembered that they contain smaller total amounts of these nutrients than the average mineral soil, because of their lighter weight per unit volume. From the physical point of view they seem to be well adapted to cultivation and rather easy to handle, if a sound program of management and conservation is followed. In cultivated areas yields of 45 tons of ratoon cane per acre have been obtained under the local management methods of the region, without a precise knowledge of the properties of organic soils, which probably require more specialized techniques to attain maximum yields and higher quality crops. The total cost of draining the marshes, where practicable, as well as of getting rid of the harmful salts, if present, will be high, but its beneficial effect on the economy of Puerto Rico can be far reaching.


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