Conversion of Forests to Arable Land and its Effect on Soil Physical Properties in Enugu State South Eastern Nigeria
Population increase and low input agriculture in south eastern Nigeria has resulted to forest conversion to arable land. A study was conducted in six locations; Ugbo-lyOkpara ( L1), Ugbo-nabo (L2) , Ugwogo-Nike (L3) , Iyi-Ukwu (L4) , Edem( L5) and Ngwo (L6) in Enugu State, southeastern Nigeria to determine the changes in selected soil physical properties ( particle size distribution, bulk density, hydraulic conductivity, macro porosity micro porosity and total porosity) as a result of converting forests to arable land..Cultivation resulted to significant (P ≤ 0.05) increase in the sand fractions and bulk density. Result showed decline in silt fraction, hydraulic conductivity, macro, micro and total porosity by 4, 17.5, 38, 26, 19 and 21% respectively. Interaction of location and land use indicated that 67% of the locations were adversely affected by cultivation while 33% of the locations indicated improvement in soil properties in favor of cultivation expressed by a significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lower bulk density in Ugbo-Okpara , higher micro and total porosity in Ugbo-nabo , higher clay content in Ugbo-Okpara and Ugbo-nabo, while 19 % and 13 % higher silt content were observed in Ugbo-Okpara, and Ugwogo- Nike respectively.The study revealed that the magnitude and direction of change was location specific.
Keywords: Forest Conversion, Cultivation, soil properties, low-input agriculture
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