Effect of slope curvature and gradient on soil properties affecting erodibility of coastal plain sands in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
A study was conducted to assess the effect of slope curvature and gradient on soil properties affecting erodibility of coastal plain sands in Akwa Ibom State. Twelve locations comprising six each of concave (CC) and convex (CV) slopes, and three slope gradients, namely, gentle (GS), moderate (MS) and steep slopes (SS) in CC and CV were identified for the study. Bulk and core soil samples were collected from the top 30 cm soil depth at three slope positions of slope curvature and gradient categories for physical and chemical characterization, and derivation of microaggregate stability indices and erodibility factor, K. Results showed that coarse sand (CS), fine sand (FS), bulk density (Bd), total porosity (TP) and saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher on CC than CV, and among the slope gradients, GS > MS > SS. The interaction of slope curvature and gradients was significantly higher on CC than CV. A similar pattern of differences was also observed inorganic matter (SOM), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and other exchangeable cations, but the effect of slope curvature and gradients interaction was not significant. The microaggregate stability indices, water dispersible clay (WDC), water dispersible silt (WDS), dispersion ratio (DR), clay dispersion ratio (CDR), modified clay ratio (MCR), clay flocculation index (CFI), aggregated silt + clay (ASC) and aggregated clay (AC) were significantly higher on CV than CC, and differences among slope gradients and interaction of slope curvature and gradients were not significant. The erodibility factor, K, was significantly higher on CV than CC, while the slope gradients were similar in their effects on K. Linear regression analysis showed that K-factor was highly significantly related to CS, FS, Si, Cl, Bd, TP and Ksat, as well as WDC, WDS, CDR, DR, CR, MCR, CFI, ASC and AC. However, CS, Si, Ksat, Cl, ASC and WDS which explained > 40% of the variability in Kfactor could be relied upon as indices of soil erodibility in the coastal plain sands in Akwa Ibom State.