Agro-environmental index to land use change impact assessment at farm level in espinal agroecosystem (Entre Ríos, Argentina).
The objective was to develop an Agri-environmental Index (IAG) by integrating soil quality indicators (ICS) and vegetation quality indicators (ICV) to assessment the land use change impact in Entre Ríos native forest areas. Three agroecosystems were evaluated: native forest with grazing (BE), Second growth forest (REN), and agriculture (AGR) in Argiudols and Hapluderts. We used ICS defined by the bibliography. This ICS were quantified from databases and bibliography, and by field sampling determination of the Microbial Biomass Carbon (CBM) for Argiudols. Five ICVs were selected and quantified using field vegetation samplings. The IAG was elaborated applying the Mixed Technique MESMIS, determining reference values, thresholds and nominal scales for the ICV; and Agroenvironmental Quality Scales for Argiudols and Hapluderts. The BE was the one with the highest IAG, classified as Very Good Agro-Environmental Quality, reflecting a sustainable production condition in the two evaluated soils. REN was Good Quality in Argiudols and Regular in Hapluderts, showing impacts on the tree structure and the presence of invasive weeds in the natural grassland. The AGR hast got a very low IAG in Argiudols and low in Hapluderts, in consequence, the incorporation of techniques is required for the ICS and ICV recovery. The IAG was useful for the land use change impact assessment on agroecosystems at the farm level, and it indentified ICS and ICV quality variations. The IAG allows the analysis of sustainable management alternatives.