Changes in Nutrient Contents of Soil across Different Land Uses in a Forest Reserve
In order to assess the changes in soil chemical properties’ resulting from conversion of forest to other agricultural land uses a study was conducted in Okomu Forest Reserve (Nigeria). Five soil samples collected from top and sub soils of marked points within the undisturbed forest, farmland, cocoa plantation, oil palm plantation and rubber plantation were analyzed for pH, organic carbon, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, exchangeable acidity, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The results showed variations in all chemical parameters across the land use types with soil depths (top and sub soils). Soil pH ranged from 4.88 (in the cocoa plantation subsoil) to 6.75 (in the forest top soil). Soils (top and sub soils) of the rubber plantation, forest and cocoa plantation had the highest stock of soil organic carbon (SOC), N and exchangeable Na respectively. Available P was highest in the top soil of the rubber plantation and sub soil of the farmland. Exchangeable Ca and Mg were highest in the top soil of the forest and sub soil of the rubber plantation. Exchangeable K and C:N was highest in the farmland top soil and cocoa plantation sub soil. Relationship among the chemical parameters varied with soil depth. Conversion of forest and cocoa plantation resulted in the highest decline (55.78% and 44.40%) in soil N. There is the need to regulate the conversion of natural forests to agricultural lands and plantations as conserve the nutrient cycling processes.
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