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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 784989, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/784989
Research Article

Land Use Effects on Soil Quality Indicators: A Case Study of Abo-Wonsho Southern Ethiopia

1School of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering, Hawassa University, P.O. Box 5, Hawassa, Ethiopia
2Department of Natural Resources Management, Wolaita Sodo University, P.O. Box 138, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia
3Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hawassa University, P.O. Box 128, Shashemene, Ethiopia

Received 5 March 2013; Revised 29 April 2013; Accepted 10 May 2013

Academic Editor: Artemi Cerda

Copyright © 2013 Awdenegest Moges et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Soil quality assessment is valuable for evaluating agroecosystem sustainability, soil degradation, and identifying sustainable land management practices. This study compared soil quality within culturally protected forest areas and adjacent grassland, grazing land, and farmland in Abo-Wonsho, Southern Ethiopia. A total of 40 soil samples (4 land uses × 5 replications × 2 soil depth layers: 0 to 10 cm and 10 to 20 cm) were collected for analysis. Soil textural fractions (i.e., sand, silt, and clay percentage) varied with land use and soil depths even though the textural class across all land use types was sandy loam. Bulk density, soil organic carbon (SOC), and available potassium (K) varied significantly: , , and , respectively, with land use and soil depth, but other indicators showed no significant difference. We conclude soil quality can be protected and maintained by improving existing land use practices within both agricultural and modern forest management areas.