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A new road through northern Serengeti National Park is proposed to be built. The purpose of this study was to collect baseline data on soils along the route of the proposed road before its construction. The physicochemical properties were used to characterize the soil before the construction of the proposed road. Levels of soil macro-elements mainly potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sodium (Na), and physicochemical properties: electrical conductivity (EC), pH, organic carbon (OC), soil organic matter (SOM), total nitrogen (TN), cation exchange capacity (CEC), phosphorus (P), aluminium (Al) were determined. Also, heavy metals: cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) were analyzed. This study was done on the eastern (Ngorongoro District) and western (Serengeti District) segments of the proposed road. The ranges in average values obtained for the physicochemical parameters and metal concentrations in the soils were: 0.05–0.57 mS/m for EC, 6.5–7.9 for pH, 0.71–1.23% for OC, 0.30–0.74 g/kg for TN, 1.23–2.12% for SOM, 20.6–79.7 mg/kg for available P, 0.27–2.08 meq/100-g for available K, 9.89–30.3 meq/100-g for available Ca, 0.29–0.67 meq/100-g for available Mg, 0.06–1.35 meq/100-g for available Na, 11.04–33.12 meq/100-g for CEC, 46702.9–63963.3 mg/kg for Al, BDL for Cd, 24.70–101.55 mg/kg for Cr, 27.31–34.96 mg/kg for Cu, 32390.8–42439 mg/kg for Fe, 18.06–22.19 mg/kg for Pb, 957.1–1458.9 mg/kg for Mn, BDL for Hg, 20.24–32.52 mg/kg for Ni and 96.09–124.14 mg/kg for Zn. These observed levels indicate that the soils before road construction are unpolluted, moderately fertile and within the specifications of good agricultural soil. On the western segment of the proposed road, the soil will need application of fertilizers for better agricultural usage.
Keywords: Physicochemical properties; soil quality; total nitrogen; macro-elements; heavy metals.