Floodplain soils, classification, land use, sustainable management.
The floodplain soils of Central Cross River State are extensively cultivated for food crop production and contributes nearly 60% of the agricultural wealth of the inhabitants. Knowledge of their characteristics, classification and management will enhance their productive potential and facilitate technological transfer. Profile pits were escavated in levee and backswamp locations in two communities with extensive floodplains and studied. Based on morphological and other analytical characteristics, the soils were classified according to USDA soil Taxonomy and correlated to FAO/UNESCO soil map of the world legend. Backswamp soils were classified as Vertic Tropaquepts while levee soils were classified as Typic Tropustuepts at sub-group level of the USDA soil Taxonomy. The FAO/UNESCO equivalent of these soils is Luvisol. The major limitations of these soils are high acidity (low pH), low available phosphorus and poor drainage. Backswamp soils were superior in most fertility indices assessed than levee soils. Soil pH in these soils had a high positive correlation with CEC, available phosphorous and base saturation with “r” values of 0.79, 0.76, and 0.75 at p<0.01 respectively. However, the relationship between CEC and erodibility index was negative with “r” value of -0.77 at p>0.01 significant level. The floodplain soils can be efficiently managed through the use of water control mechanisms, construction of efficient low cost drainage systems, construction of giant heaps and application of phosphatic fertilizers/NPK high in phosphorus. The backswamps can be dammed for fish farming.