Free access | Research Article

Characterization of the morphological, physical and chemical properties of gully eroded soils

Nwosu Tochukwu Victor, Anene Basil, Ezeobi Mmesoma, Madueke Chike

Published on: 30 Jun 2022 | DOI: | Volume: 9, Issue: 2 | Pages: 12-20 |

Characterization of the nature and properties of soils is fundamental to effective land use planning, land allocation and land management. A study was conducted in a gully eroded site at Ugwuoba, in Enugu State-Southeast, Nigeria. The study area runs on a toposequence of about 195m in length and was divided into three units of upslope, midslope and downslope for ease of study. A soil profile was dug 15m away from the upslope to serve as the control. Prior to soil sample collection, the horizons were first delineated. Soil samples were then collected from the soil profile, starting from the bottom horizon. Before soil sample collection from the upslope, midslope and downslope sections of the gully, the gully walls were first cleaned by scraping off the exposed surface to expose the undisturbed underlying layer. The horizons were then delineated and soil samples collected, starting from the bottom horizon. Collected soil samples were analyzed for selected soil properties; data obtained were subjected to statistical analysis and treatment means were separated using Duncan’s post hoc test at 5% probability level. The results obtained showed a colour differentiation that ranged from dark brown, dark yellowish brown, yellow red to dark red with a crumby structure. The textural class of the studied area was predominantly sandy loam. Soil pH was generally acidic. The control, upslope, midslope and downslope had average available phosphorus concentration of 19.48 mg/kg, 18.92 mg/kg, 22.03 mg/kg and 22.08 mg/kg respectively. Average Total Nitrogen concentrations of 1.28%, 0.09%, 0.09%, and 0.11%, were obtained respectively at the control, upslope, midslope and downslope. Soil organic carbon ranged from 0.72%-1.42% at the upslope, 0.78%-1.63% at the midslope and 0.96%-1.17% at the downslope. Effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC) of the studied area ranged from 5.95 cmol/kg to 10.02 cmol/kg. Calcium concentration ranged from 3.00 cmol/kg to 4.40 cmol/kg at the control, 2.80 cmol/kg-4.40 cmol/kg at the upslope, 2.80 cmol/kg to 4.00 cmol/kg at the midslope, 3.60 cmol/kg to 5.20 cmol/kg at the downslope. Potassium concentration ranged from 0.08 cmol/kg to 0.14 cmol/kg. Magnesium concentration ranged from 1.20 cmol/kg to 3.20 cmol/kg, Sodium concentration ranged from 0.10 to 0.21. Exchangeable soil acidity of the studied area ranged from 0.80 cmol/kg to 1.60 cmol/kg. Soils of the studied area are classified as Typic Udipsamments and Arenosols according to USDA soil taxonomic system and World Reference Base respectively. The soils can support perennial crops when left under natural vegetation.