Evaluation of Physicochemical Properties of Soil under Gum Arabic Tree (Acacia senegal L.) Wild Plantation in Sahel Zone of Jigawa State, Nigeria
Acacia senegal (L), a nitrogen fixing tree and a drought resistant species with potentials to improve infertile soils was planted in Sahel zone of Jigawa State, Nigeria for the production of gum arabic. However, information on the soil physico-chemical properties under plantation in Nigeria is scanty, hence the objective of this paper was to evaluate the physicochemical properties of soil under gum arabic tree (Acacia senegal L) wild plantation in Sahel zone of Jigawa State, Nigeria. Soil samples were collected from four 30 x 30m plots in the plantation and another plot in open land (control). Three replicate soil samples were taken from 0-15 cm, 15-30 cm and 30-60 cm soil depths, analysed for micro and macronutrients using standard methods. Soil texture of the plantation is loamy sand but with slight textural differentiation under the open land. Mean soil bulk density ranged from 1.6 g/cm3 in the plantation to 1.8g/cm3 in the open woodland. The high values of soil bulk density might be ascribed to loss of organic matter as a result of soil erosion and animal grazing which are common occurrences. Results obtained indicated that the ECEC decreased as the soil depth increased and is low in values while the CEC of soils range from 5.57 to 5.97. The physicochemical properties of soils under the plantation were significantly different at P < 0.05 compared with the control an indication that Acacia senegal can gradually improves soil quality and productivity especially in Sahel zone of the northern part of Nigeria.