Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


First Advisor

J. Michael Daniels, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Donald G. Sullivan

Third Advisor

Erika Trigoso

Fourth Advisor

Lawrence Conyers


Agricultural terraces, Andes, Erosion, Land management, Peru, Soil


Demographic, socio-political and climatic changes can drastically alter agricultural land management practices, affecting the availability of agriculturally relevant nutrients in the soil. This project investigates the use, reconstruction and abandonment of agricultural terraces and the implications these conditions have on agricultural soil properties of the Andagua Valley in the Western Cordillera of the Southern Peruvian Andes. During the 2016 summer field season, topsoil samples were collected from cultivated and abandoned agricultural terraces between 3229m and 3688m a. s. l. with a range of aspects and ages. Collaboration with a team of archaeologists and anthropologists gave insight into the local and regional history, and helped with the interpretation of the soil data. Organic carbon percentage and pH of abandoned soils are slightly lower than cultivated soils, similar to results in the Colca Valley (Sandor and Eash 1996), but are not dramatically different enough to negatively impact the long-term fertility. However, the variable distribution of cultivation and abandonment across the Andagua Valley is distinct from the vertical terrace organization in the Colca Valley. These patchworks of terraces are further enabled by the soil properties in the valley within the particular sociopolitical and cultural contexts of the Peruvian Andes.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Blaise Murphy


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

100 p.


Geography, Latin American Studies, Soil Sciences