Comparative study of soil physico-chemical properties under Acacia senegal in three different plantations in Maifari, Jigawa state, Nigeria
Acacia senegal is a multipurpose drought-tolerant tree or shrub legume, and is commonly used in agroforestry systems in sub-Saharan Africa for gum arabic production and soil fertility improvement. Despite its relatively wide distribution in Nigeria, there has not been exhaustive evaluation on the effects of the tree/shrub on soil physicochemical properties under its canopy forsustainable utilization of the tree. Accordingly, three sitesin the semi-arid regionof Nigeria representing three plantation ages of 7, 27and 37 years old were selected for assessment. Soil samples were collected under tree canopies and were compared with the soils from the open canopies. Results indicated that there were significant differences in soil physicochemical properties among the three ages (P<0.05 and P< 0.01). Generally, soil nutrients under the canopies were higher than in the open canopies irrespective of the age mainly due to effects of litter accumulation. The tree/shrubhas beneficial effects on soil nutrient status in their natural ecosystems and would most likely improve crop productivity in agroforestry systems such as alley cropping. The resultant improvement in soil nutrients status can increase herbage production in agricultural rangelands thus enhancing animal production in the study area. The tree/shrub growing under different soil types may have an effect on their gum Arabic production and quality.
Keywords: Acacia senegal,plantation ages, soil nutrients accumulation, sustainable utilization.