Characteristics, classification and potentials of soils in Werkaryia area, South Welo, Ethiopia

  • Engdawork Assefa


This paper examines the morphological, physical, chemical and biochemical characteristics of soils and maps the soil units of Werkaryia area, Kutaber wereda, south Welo. Moreover it examines the potential and constraints of soils for crop cultivation. The characteristics of soils were determined based on field survey and laboratory analysis. The classification of soil was based on the fao/unesco Revised Legend (1990). Eutric Vertisol, Haplic Phaeozem, Luvic Phaeozems, Mollic Gleysols, Mollic Fluvisols and Mollic, Lithic, and Eutric Leptosols are the major soil units identified in the area. Vertisols occur on the gently to strongly sloping alluvial toeslope and footslope. They are marked by high clay content, cracks, slickensides and gilgai topographic features. Cambic B and argic B of the Haplic Phaeozems and Luvic Phaeozems underlain the Mollic A of Phaeozems, respectively. Mollic Gleysols developed on alluvium deposition while Mollic Fluvisols on stratified deposition of the toeslope. Both Fluvisols and Gleysols are marked by gleyic and stagnic conditions. On the other hand, Leptosols are formed over the residuals of the trachyte of the upper slopes. They are characterized by shallow soil depth, below 30 cm. As a result of the parent materials, the soils of Werkaryia in general are characterised by high nutrient status and retention capacities. The pH of the soils is also favourable for crop cultivation. However, crop cultivation in the area is limited by low organic matter and total nitrogen of Vertisols and Phaeozems, by the poor drainage of Vertisols, the shallow depth and the high erosion rate in Leptosols, the high water table of Fluvisols and Gleysols, and the imbalance of nutrients and deficiency of some of the nutrients in almost all of the soils.

Key words/phrases: Soil characteristics, soil classification, soil constraints, soils potentials, Welo

SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science Vol.25(1) 2002: 45-70