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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2016, Article ID 9814316, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9814316
Research Article

Variability of Soil Micronutrients Concentration along the Slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

1World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 6226, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
2Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam, P.O. Box 35097, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
3Environment Department, York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems, University of York, Heslington, York, North Yorkshire YO10 5NG, UK
4World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677, Nairobi 00100, Kenya

Received 3 February 2016; Revised 19 April 2016; Accepted 6 June 2016

Academic Editor: Claudio Cocozza

Copyright © 2016 Mathayo Mpanda Mathew 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 micronutrients are important elements for plant growth despite being required in small quantities. Deficiency of micronutrients can result in severe crop failure while excess levels can lead to health hazards; therefore, investigating their status in agricultural land is crucial. Fifty plots were established along an altitudinal gradient from 680 to 1696 m a.s.l. on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Soils were sampled at the top- (0–20 cm) and subsoils (21–50 cm) in four locations within each plot. Fourier Transform Mid-Infrared (FT-MIR) spectroscopy and wet chemistry were used for soil analysis. Results indicated that the mean concentrations of the micronutrients in the topsoil were Fe (mgkg−1), Mn (mgkg−1), Zn ( mgkg−1), B (mgkg−1), and Cu (mgkg−1). Variations of the micronutrients were not statistically different by elevation (df = 41, ) and by soil depth (df = 49, ). Correlations among micronutrients were significant for Fe versus Mn (, ), B versus Zn (, ), B versus Cu (, ), and Cu versus Zn (, ). The correlated micronutrients implied that they were affected by similar factors. Soil pH correlated positively with B, Fe, and Mn and negatively with Cu and Zn, hence probably influencing their availability. Therefore, the need for sustaining micronutrient at sufficient levels is crucial. Management interventions may include moderating soil pH by reducing acidity through liming in the higher elevations and incorporation of organic matter in the lowlands.