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Identification of Soil Management Factors from Spatially Variable Soil Properties of Coastal Plain Sands in Southeastern Nigeria

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DOI: 10.4236/ojss.2011.12004    5,048 Downloads   10,273 Views   Citations


Variability in soil properties is a critical element across wide areas of researches especially in several aspects of agriculture and environment including sewage disposal and global climate change. Particle size fraction (sand, silt, and clay), effective cation exchange capacity, base saturation, pH, organic carbon, total nitrogen, carbon nitrogen ratio, available phosphorus, exchangeable bases (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium) and acidity are frequently used in agriculture for soil management. The objective of this study therefore was to identify soil management factors from these set of 15 soil properties and spatial distribution of representative soil management properties. The study was carried out in the University of Uyo Teaching and Research Farm measuring 8.19 hectares in University of Uyo Annex, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. Nine and ten traverses were made horizontally and vertically respectively at 40 meters intervals. A total of 58 soil samples were collected at 0 - 15 cm depth on the grid nodes of the traverses. Particle size distributions, exchangeable bases and acidity, effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC), available phosphorus (avail. P), base saturation (BS), organic carbon, total nitrogen, carbon nitrogen ratio (CNR) and pH of the samples were determined in the laboratory. Coefficient of variation indicated that 26.6% of the soil properties (sand content, pH, CNR and sodium) were least variable, 40.1% comprising silt, clay contents, ECEC, base saturation, phosphorus and magnesium were moderately. Whereas 33.3% of the soil properties comprising clay content, organic carbon, total nitrogen, exchangeable Ca, K and acidity (i.e.) were highly variable. There were significant correlation (p < 0.05) in 26.6% of the soil properties, the strongest negative significant (p < 0.01) correlations were between sand and clay (r = –0.85), exchangeable acidity and base saturation (r = –0.85), whereas the strongest positive significant correlations were between ECEC and Ca (r = 0.80), Ca and BS (r = 0.74), organic carbon and total nitrogen (r = 0.80). Principal component analysis indicated the existence of six factors including mineralogical or weathering, soil organic matter, cation exchange activity, soil texture, and dispersion and soil phosphorus based on either management or pedological considerations. Semivariance statistics showed that sand and clay contents, ECEC, BS and total N were moderately (≥25.7% ≤47.3%), while silt content, pH, organic carbon, CNR, avail. P, exchangeable Ca, Mg, Na and acidity (≥0.18% ≤22.8%) were strongly spatially dependent. The variability observed was primarily incident upon factors of soil formation. Therefore, the utilization of spatial structure of organic matter and texture factors in the management of nutrient and soil water will facilitate planning of crop production scheme on coastal plain sands soils.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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J. Obi and B. Udoh, "Identification of Soil Management Factors from Spatially Variable Soil Properties of Coastal Plain Sands in Southeastern Nigeria," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 1 No. 2, 2011, pp. 25-39. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2011.12004.


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