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Formation of vertical fissures in a soil which promote the downward preferential flow of water with or without particulate matter or salts.

Crop rotation

The temporal alternation of different crop types (mown vs. lifted, monocots vs dicots, annual vs perennial) on a piece of farm land.

Crop suitability assessment

Methodology to evaluate the suitability of a specific location for producing a particular crop under a defined agricultural production system based on the agro-climatic (i.e. thermal and moisture) conditions, and on the agro-edaphic (i.e. soil and landform) conditions (FAO).

Crop yield

The amount of crop harvested per unit area, expressed either as total yield (biomass) or as grain (marketable) yield (kg/ha or t/ha).

Cropping frequency

The period after which a crop type returns to a field in the course of years, commonly expressed as a percentage of the number of years needed for a full crop rotation cycle.

Cropping system

Crop type, crop rotation, and the agronomic management techniques (e.g. , tillage practice, irrigation, and nutrient and pest management) used on a particular field over a period of years (Nafziger, 2012).

Cultural ecosystem services

The non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experience, including, e.g., knowledge systems, social relations, and aesthetic values.


Filamentous or single-celled bacteria that fix carbon and nitrogen (formerly called blue-green algae). Only the filamentous species can be seen without a microscope. Cyanobacterial crusts with low biomass are generally the color of the soil and those with high biomass and diversity are dark (brown to black).


Removal of calcium carbonate or calcium ions from the soil by leaching.


The biochemical breakdown of organic matter into organic compounds and nutrients, and ultimately into its original components.

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