Enumeration of carbon and nitrogen contents of water-stable aggregates in layers of topsoils from cultivated and adjacent bush-fallow loamy soils
Soil organic carbon (SOC) and total soil nitrogen (TSN) dynamics have both pedological and agronomic basis. Knowledge of their retention within aggregate hierarchies of varying soil textures as influenced by land use change is limited. The capacity of loam (L), clay loam (CL), sandy loam (SL) and sandy clay loam (SCL) soils to retain SOC and TSN in water-stable aggregate (WSA) at 10-cm intervals of 0-30 cm topsoil depths under cultivated and bushfallow/ uncultivated systems was investigated. The soils showed high dispersion ratio and great variations in aggregate silt and clay indices (CL > L > SCL > SL) under both land uses. Across soil depths, the uncultivated CL, SL and SCL soils had moderate to high > 2.00 mm WSA whose reduction due to cultivation impact was more pronounced in SL than in CL soil. Across soil depths and land uses, SOC content seemed higher in the macro- (> 0.50 mm) than in the micro- (< 0.50 mm) aggregates of all the soils while the reverse marked aggregate TSN content in almost all the soils. Cultivation mostly reduced macro-aggregate-associated SOC and TSN in L > CL > SL and in L > SL > CL > SCL soils, respectively. However, cultivation showed no reduction influence on micro-aggregate-associated SOC of all the soils. Cultivation-related reduction in micro-aggregate-associated TSN was more pronounced in the generally more ‘clayey’ CL and SCL than the L and SL soils. So, the potential of bush-fallowing to enhance micro-aggregateassociated TSN storage and stabilization against adverse influence of cultivation depends on soil texture.