Background: The success of soil management depends on understanding of how soils respond to agricultural land use practices over time. Nitisols are among the most extensive agricultural soils in the Ethiopian highlands but soil degradation threatens their productive capacity. In this study, the effects of two land use systems, intensive cereal and agroforestry systems, and slope class on physical and chemical characteristics of some Nitisol profiles were investigated. In total 12 sample profiles were described and soil samples were collected from each of the identified master horizon. Soil physical characteristics evaluated were particle size distribution, structural aggregate stability, water holding capacity and bulk density. Chemical characteristics determined were exchangeable bases and cation exchange capacity, soil pH and the contents of organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen ( TN), available phosphorus (AP) and some micronutrients. Results: Among the physical characteristics, land use and slope significantly (p < 0.05) affected particle size distribu- tion and plant available water content. The mean sand (28%) and silt (26%) particles in the intensive cereal system were significantly (p < 0.05) higher compared to 15% sand and 18% silt in the agroforestry system. Conversely, the mean values of fine grained texture materials including 39% fine sand,
Environmental Systems Research – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 23, 2017
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