Akinloye Florence Y, Adeleke Benjamin O, Akinloye Kehinde F, Orimoogunje Oluwagbenga OI
Soil degradation associated with land use is a critical problem in Southwestern Nigeria and there is little or insufficient scientific information in assessing soil quality indicator. In this study 9 soil physical and chemical properties were measured from 5 different sampling sites covering three land use categories (arable farms, tree farms and natural forest). The quality of the soils was determined by comparing the physio-chemical parameters of soil samples from the farms with the Standard maximum allowable thresholds for agricultural lands. Two hundred (200) copies of questionnaire were administered purposively to elicit information on socio-economic status focusing on farm history and farm attributes. Analysis of Variance was used to identify the most sensitive indicators of soil quality for evaluating land use within the forest belt in Southwestern Nigeria and subsequently compare soil quality assessment using fieldwork and laboratory soil analysis method. The results indicated that soils in the study area were characterized with mean bulk density, cation exchangeable capacity that varied at F = 0.68, P<0.05 under both arable and tree crops than the natural forest plot. Soils under arable and tree crop plots exhibited higher concentrations of exchangeable acidity, organic matter, clay, cation exchangeable capacity than the natural forest plots. Concentrations of clay and available phosphorus was also significantly different at the top soils than the subsoil (FC = 0.76, P<0.05) at the arable soils. Most of the soil parameters at arable plots were not significant from those of the tree crops. The study concluded that farm cultivations caused deterioration of soil properties in the study area therefore sustainable agricultural practices should be adopted in order to meet the food requirement of the teeming population.
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