Assessing Soil Quality and Preferred Agricultural Methods and their Implications in Overall Sustainability in a Rural Guatemalan Community
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While agricultural sustainability has been a concern for many years, factors such as global climate change, increasing populations, and the continuous degradation of natural resources have made the development of more sustainable agricultural systems a top priority. Analysis of current agricultural methods will be necessary in order to provide appropriate recommendations that will improve the environmental and community health in populations around the world. The current study aimed to conduct soil nutrient analysis and interview farmers in the rural Guatemalan community of Nuevo Horizonte in order to assess the impact that agricultural techniques have on soil nutrient concentrations and overall crop yield. The soil analysis conducted provided an overview of the pH and levels of the primary plant nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in various agricultural fields within Nuevo Horizonte and interviews with farmers provided insight regarding the range of agricultural methods employed, the thoughts and perceptions of various agricultural methods, and willingness to alter agricultural methods to potentially increase sustainability. It was hypothesized that farmers who implemented more organic agricultural methods would have more optimum soil nutrient levels and a greater overall agricultural yield than farmers who implemented more conventional agricultural techniques.