Changes in Soil Properties under Different Land Use Covers in Parts of Odukpani, Cross River State, Nigeria
Land management practices provide the basis for evaluating sustainability and monitoring environmental impacts. In Calabar, the current land management practice of grass planting along major routes as a way of beautifying and managing degraded areas has not received much research attention. The study examined the dynamics in soil physical and chemical properties under different land use covers in parts of Odukpani in Cross River State, Nigeria. The quadrat approach was used to randomly collect soil samples from fifteen plots of 5m x 5m across three identified land use covers: roadside soil, 16 year-old rubber plantation soil and a secondary forest soil. Result showed that the contents of CEC, available phosphorus, Ca, Mg and K were considerably higher in the roadside soil than in the rubber and secondary forest soils as a result of road construction and landscaping activities resulting in the introduction of soil with high quantity of clay. The result further revealed that organic carbon and total nitrogen contents were higher in the secondary forest soil than in other land cover soils due to the dense canopy cover that helped in nutrient accretion in the soil by minimizing the loss of nutrients through soil erosion and leaching. To maintain soil nutrient for ecological sustainability in line with the changing landscape in the area, trees along with grasses are encouraged to be planted, instead of grasses alone as can be seen along major routes in the state.
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