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Applied and Environmental Soil Science publishes research in the field of soil science. Its focus reflects the multidisciplinary nature of soil science, especially the dynamics and spatial heterogeneity of processes in soil.
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Soil Organic Carbon Distribution in a Humid Tropical Plain of Cameroon: Interrelationships with Soil Properties
Soil organic carbon (SOC) determination is very important in the assessment of agronomic potential of a soil. The objective of this study was to determine SOC contents and stock distribution with depth in relation to selected soil properties. Five types of soils, namely, Mollic Endoaquents, Oxyaquic Paleudalfs, Oxyaquic Udifluvents, and Mollic Udifluvents from a humid tropical plain and Typic Eutrudepts from an adjacent foot slope, were studied. The soils have all developed from fluvial sediments. Morphological and physicochemical characteristics of the soils were obtained using standard methods. Soil texture varied across the different sites and within soil profiles with textural classes of genetic horizons ranging from sandy loam to heavy clay. The soils are generally young soils under development as indicated by their high silt/clay ratios which ranged between 0.23 and 2.45. All the soils were generally acidic with pH-H2O values ranging from 4.5 to 6.2. Exchangeable H+ and Al3+ ranged from 0.5 to 2.3 and 0.2 to 3.3 cmolckg−1, respectively. SOC contents are generally higher in surface horizons and decrease with depth. In general, SOC correlated significantly with bulk density (BD) (r = −0.648, ), water holding capacity (r = 0.589, ), exchangeable Al3+ (r = 0.707, ), and exchangeable H+ (r = 0.456, ). The correlation between SOC and exchangeable Al3+ was strongest in the Mollic Endoaquents (r = 0.931, ). SOC contents correlated significantly with Munsell soil color attributes, explaining between 40 and 57% of SOC variation. Total SOC stocks at a depth of 100 cm varied between 260.1 and 363.5 t·ha−1, and the variation in SOC stocks across a profile appears to be controlled by genetic horizon depth, while land use type influences SOC stock variations across genetic surface horizons.
Impacts of Land Use and Land Cover Change on Soil Erosion and Hydrological Responses in Ethiopia
Land use and land cover (LULC) dynamics, in general, and the conversion of the natural vegetation cover into cultivated land, in particular, are major human-induced problems in Ethiopia, which have played a significant role in increasing the rate of soil erosion and altering the hydrological balance in the country. The main aim of this review was to view previous studies in Ethiopia that quantify the change in the rate of soil erosion and hydrological responses as a result of the change in land use and land cover in the country. From the past researches reviewed in this paper, the expansion of cultivated land at the expense of forest land, shrubland, and grassland in Ethiopia has increased the mean rate of soil erosion, sediment yield, surface runoff, mean wet monthly flow, and mean annual stream flow in the last four decades. On the other hand, the change has reduced the dry average monthly flow, groundwater recharge and groundwater flow, and evapotranspiration (ET) in the country. Future research works should pay more attention to the investigation of the impacts of land use and land cover change on groundwater hydrology and the prediction of future soil loss and hydrological imbalance under the changing land use and land cover in the country since little information is available from past researches on these issues. Research works are also required in lowland arid and semiarid areas in Ethiopia to effectively manage soil and water resources in all parts of the country.
Impact of Sedimentation on Water Seepage Capacity in Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Accumulation and deposition of sediments in waterbody affect the seepage capacity that could lead to improper water balance and results in the water level rise. This study analysed the influence of sedimentation on seepage capacity in Lake Nakuru and the impact of sediment characteristics to the water seepage and the flow rate formation at the lake bed level. The study was performed by sampling and analysing the sediment cores from two locations in the lake. The sediment hydraulic properties, i.e., moisture and porosity, particle sizes, and hydraulic conductivity, were determined using the oven-drying method, sieve analysis, hydrometer analysis, and falling head tests, respectively. The results showed that the lake sediment sample from location P1 had an average ratio of 39.38% for silty soil, 34.00% for clayey sediment, and 26.63% for fine-sand sediment particles with the maximum permeability coefficient of cm/s, while the one from location P2 had an average ratio of 63.17% for sand, 20.17% for fine particles, and 16.67% for gravels with the maximum permeability coefficient of 0.010793 cm/s. The hydraulic conductivity of sediment sample from location P1 and P2 increased along the core depth. This could lead to the rise of water level due to the decreases of water movement induced from the sediment cementation in the top layers under the waterbody. Sedimentation affects Lake Nakuru water volume and water balance; hence, there is a need to control the inflow of sediment resulting from anthropogenic activities in the watershed.
Study on Irrigation Water Quality in the Rift Valley Areas of Awash River Basin, Ethiopia
Awash River water has been impaired by various types of pollution owing to waste released from different socioeconomic activities in its basin. This study aimed to evaluate the water quality of the Awash River and its tributaries in the basin used for irrigation purposes. Sampling sites were identified based on the pollution sources, accessibility, and land-use coverage. A total of 17 sampling sites were chosen along the Awash River, and samplings were collected four times a year through different seasons. The overall water quality and suitability for irrigation are explained using multiple water quality parameters such as pH, EC, SAR, RSC, Na+, K+, Ca + Mg, CO32−, HCO3−, and Cl−. The obtained results showed that all quality parameters at Beseka Lake exceed the maximum permissible limit of suitability for irrigation. It is generally conceivable that the physicochemical characteristic of the Awash River varies in different water quality parameters at different sites. Only Beseka Lake and Meteka hot spring water exceeded pH and SAR permissible limit, and EC at Mojo, Wonji, Beseka, Melkasedi, Werer, Ambash, Meteka, and Meteka hot spring shows medium-to-high salinity scale, while RSC was very high at Beseka, Melkasedi, Meteka hot spring, Ambash, Meteka Mojo, Werer, Assayta, Wonji, Dupty, Tibila, Metehara, and Afambo, respectively. The establishment of wastewater treatment plants for industries and stormwater quality management at hotspot areas are recommended to improve the water quality, and dispatch proportion needs to be considered in the future.
Intertillage during Natural Farming Rice Paddy Production Negatively Impacted the Microbial Abundances in Soils but Not Diversities
In natural farming rice paddies, intertillage (tillage between rows, during rice growth period) is often performed mainly to remove weeds without the use of chemicals. Also, the intertillage disturbs soil surfaces, potentially impacting the characteristics of soil microbial communities, such as their diversity and abundance. Natural farming systems aim to maintain biodiversity, but it remains unclear whether the intertillage impacts soil microbes in rice paddies. Thus, this study aimed to understand to what extent “five times intertillage” treatment (5T) influences soil bacterial abundance and community structures compared with no tillage (NT), under a natural farming rice paddy system. Soils were sampled at rice proximity, soil surface, and 10 cm depth in a natural farming rice paddy, during the early to late vegetative phase (June to July), in Hokkaido, Japan. The 16S rRNA community structures and abundance were analyzed by next generation sequencing (NGS) and quantitative PCR, respectively. We observed that NT had significantly higher bacterial abundances at the soil surface than 5T. However, there were no clear differences between 5T and NT, regarding the bacterial community structures, including their diversity indices. Instead, the sampling timings markedly impacted the bacterial community structures for the rice proximity and soil surface, showing increasing diversity indices at the late vegetative stage, compared to the early vegetative stage, suggesting the interaction between the crop growth and bacterial communities. In this study, we did not observe the significant difference between the rice yield from NT (2.3 ± 0.7 t·ha−1) and 5T plots (2.7 ± 0.9 t·ha−1); however, the 5T might have negatively impacted soil bacterial abundances but not the community structure of the bacteria.
Phosphorus Sorption Characteristics of Luvisols and Nitisols in North Ethiopian Soils
Crop response to phosphorus (P) application is often erratic in most acidic soil types. The main processes for P losses from agricultural fields are fixation, crop removal, erosion, surface runoff, and subsurface leaching. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate adsorption properties of selected soils, determine the external phosphorous requirements (EPRs) of the soils, and identify factors contributing to P sorption in two soils in North Ethiopia. In this experiment, separately weighed 1 g soil samples were equilibrated with KH2PO4 at rates of 0.5, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 mg PL−1. The P sorption data were fitted well with both Langmuir and Freundlich models with average r2 values of 0.91 and 0.88, respectively. The adsorption maximum (Xm) of the Langmuir isotherm ranged from 588.20 mg P kg−1 soil in Luvisols to 833.3 mg P kg−1 soil in Nitisols. The EPRL values ranged between 86.20 to 93.28 mg P kg−1 for soils of the study area. Among the soil properties, clay content and Ex. Al were positively correlated with Xm. The path analysis revealed that clay, pH, and Av. P had a direct effect on P sorption parameters. The EPRL of the studied soils was 3.44 to 3.6 times greater than the blanket P fertilizer rate recommendation. It is concluded that P sorption models can effectively be used to discriminate soils based on P fixation ability. The result further indicates that the current P fertilizer application rate of 50 kg P ha−1 being practiced across all soil types should be revised after validating the models and EPR values estimated in this study for each soil both under greenhouse and in-the-field conditions.