Pedosphere 14(4): 409--423, 2004
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2004 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Surface reactivity in tropical highly weathered soils and implications for rational soil management
Research Institute for Development (IRD), 911 Avenue Agropolis, BP 64501, 34394 Montpelher Cedex 5 (France). E-mail:
      Highly weathered soils are distributed in the humid and wet-dry tropics, as well as in the humid subtropics. As a result of strong weathering, these soils are characterized by low activity clays, which develop variable surface charge and related specific properties. Surface reactions regarding base exchange and soil acidification, heavy metal sorption and mobility, and phosphorus sorption and availability of the tropical highly weathered soils are reviewed in this paper. Factors controlling surface reactivity towards cations and anions, including ion exchange and specific adsorption processes, are discussed with consideration on practical implications for rational management of these soils. Organic matter content and pH value are major basic factors that should be controlled through appropriate agricultural practices, in order to optimise favorable effects of colloid surface properties on soil fertility and environmental quality.
Key Words:  heavy metal, highly weathered soils, phosphorus, tropical soil management, variable charge minerals
Citation: Moreau, R. and PÉtard, J. 2004. Surface reactivity in tropical highly weathered soils and implications for rational soil management. Pedosphere. 14(4): 409-423.
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