• M.I. Onwuka Department of Soil Science and Meteorology, College of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, PMB 7627 Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria
Keywords: Land conversion, soil quality, soil organic matter, deterioration percentage and Umudike area


Land use change affects soil quality, but the extent of the effect at Umudike area of Abia State Nigeria, remains
unclear. The study examined the impact of seven land use types: Natural Forest Reserved land (NFRL), Arable
Land (AL), Recreational Land (RL), Pasture Grass Land (PGL), Reforestation Land (RFL), Short Period Fallow
Land (SPFL), and Oil Palm Plantation Land (OPPL) on some selected soil properties. The aim of the study were:
to investigate what extent, if any, deterioration of the soil as a result of change from forest to other forms of use;
and if soil's organic matter was related to the soil's other properties. Soils were sampled under forest and six other
forms of land use mentioned. The soil properties determined were; pH, soil organic matter, total nitrogen, bulk
density, total porosity, moisture content, particle size distribution, and mean weight diameter. Relationships
between the soil properties and soil organic matter, which is assumed as an indicator of soil quality in the study
area, were also estimated. Results show that soil organic matter increased significantly (p<0.05) under NFRL to
43.47 g kg-1, and decreased to 0.52 g kg-1 under AL. Bulk density value was lowest ( 1.25 g cm-3) for NFRL,
followed by the PGL (1.30 g cm-3). Results of the percentage soil deterioration index indicated that RL had the
highest value of 24.6%. There was a linear and strong negative relationship (R2 = 0.8778 and r = -0.83***)
between soil organic matter and bulk density. Conversely, between soil organic matter and mean weight diameter,
strong positive relationship (R2 = 0.7428 and r = -0.83***) was estimated. We conclude therefore, that the
adoption of good soil management practices that would improve the soil properties of the other land use apart
from NFRL should be encouraged.


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eISSN: 0300-368X