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Comparative evaluation of growth performance and soil quality of two age sequences of <i>Gmelina arborea</i> plantation in University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria

E.F. Akhabue
U.D. Chima
F.S. Eguakun


This study was conducted in 2019 to compare the growth performance and soil quality of two agesequences of Gmelina arborea plantation within the premises of the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Data were collected from two stands of G. arborea established in 2011 and 2015. Growth performance was evaluated based on tree growth variables and above-ground carbon stored. Tree growth variables estimated were total height (TH), diameter at breast height (DBH), crown height (CH), crown diameter (CD) and merchantable height (MH). Topsoil (0 – 30 cm) samples collected from the two sites were analyzed for particle size distribution, organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (Av.P), exchangeable bases (Mg, Ca, K and Na), exchangeable acidity (Al+ H+), effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC), base saturation (BS), pH, Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn). The above-ground biomass (AGB) and carbon stock (CS) were also determined. T-test was used to test for significant difference in the measured parameters between the two age-sequences of G. arborea. Higher values for TH, DBH, CS and MH were recorded for the older stand although the differences between the two age-sequences were not significantly different (p ≥ 0.05). The AGB and CS per hectare were higher for the older than the younger G. arborea stand (302.27 m3 ha-1 and 151.52 m3 ha-1, respectively). Higher values for silt, clay, Ca, Mg, Al+ H+, ECEC, BS, Mn, Fe and Zn were also recorded for the older stand. However, the observed differences were only significant (p < 0.05) for clay, pH, Av.P, Mn and Fe. The study revealed that although soil properties, tree growth as well as carbon sequestration capacity of G. arborea stand improved/increased with age, the differences were mainly not statistically significant (p ≥ 0.05) between the two (eight and four years) age-sequences.

Keywords: Gmelina arborea, age sequence, soil quality, carbon sequestration