EFFECT OF LAND USE AND SLOPE GRADIENTS ON SELECTED PROPERTIES AND SOIL QUALITY OF AN ALFISOL IN AFAKA FOREST, NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA OF NIGERIA

EFFECT OF LAND USE AND SLOPE GRADIENTS ON SELECTED PROPERTIES AND SOIL QUALITY OF AN ALFISOL IN AFAKA FOREST, NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA OF NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

Land use changes from forest into cultivated ecosystems result in negative impact on soil

structure and quality. The purpose of this study was to determine effect of land use and

slope on selected properties and quality of an Alfisol in Afaka forest, Northern Guinea

savanna of Nigeria. Land use systems, including natural forest and cultivated land were

identified. Eighteen (18) composite disturbed and undisturbed samples were collected

from depth of 0-5 and 5-10cm for analysis of pertinent soil properties in the laboratory

using rigid grid procedure. Most physical and chemical properties show relative

variations in response to land use types and geomorphic positions. Mean weight diameter

(MWD) indicates higher water stable aggregates of 1.26 mm in forestland and less stable

aggregates in cultivated land 1.19 mm. Textural classes of soils under all the land uses

on different topographic positions were sandy loam. Results indicate that the soils had

high degree of weathering potentials, low to moderate bulk density at 0-5cm depth

values range between 1.42 to 1.49 Mg m-3 in forest and cultivated land, bulk density at

5-10cm depths had values ranging between 1.34 and 1.46 1.Mg m-3     for forest and

cultivated land respectively. Total porosity ranged from 40.77 to 46.10 % for cultivation

and forest land use while slopes have 45.00, 44.48 and 44.38 % porosity for upper,

middle and lower slopes respectively. The highest soil moisture contents at 0-5cm depth

were 4.20, 2.63 cm3/cm3 , while at 5-10cm depths values were 4.32 and 2.13 cm3/cm3

recorded under forest and cultivation land use. Middle slope shows higher soil moisture

content of 4.35 and 4.38 cm3/cm3 for 0-5 cm and 5-10 cm respectively. The pH (H2O)

ranged from 6.9 to 7.16 in the land uses. The electrical conductivity in the land uses was

0.13 dS/m and 0.12 dS/m was obtained for forest and cultivation land respectively, with

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highest EC at upper slope 0.16 dS/m. The organic carbon concentration of 10.2 g kg-1 and

8.2 g kg-1 was obtained in forest and cultivated land and highest carbon stock of 1522.1 C

kg ha-1 was recorded at forestland with 1124.3 C kg ha-1 at cultivation land. The CEC of

8.60 cmol kg-1 and 8.54 cmol kg-1 was recorded on forest and cultivated land uses,

whereas highest CEC value of 9.28 cmol kg-1 was recorded at middle slope. The

exchangeable bases (Na, K, Mg and Ca) were medium rating in all land use and slope

positions. The total nitrogen content of 1.21 g kg-1 and 1.11 g kg-1 for forest and

cultivation land uses was recorded. The highest available phosphorus of 8.78 mg kg-1 and

5.47 mg kg-1 was recorded under cultivated and forest land use while lowest value 4.12

mg kg-1 of available phosphorus was recorded at middle slope. The highest carbon:

nitrogen ratio 8.6:1 was obtained under forestland and 7.5:1 was obtained at cultivated

land. Highest aluminum concentration of 0.14 and 0.26 cmol kg-1 was obtained at forest

and cultivated land use. Alfisols at the upper forest land had better soil quality than those

at other slope positions. Results indicate that soil fertility parameters were moderate to


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