COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF TROPICAL RAINFOREST SOILS FORMED FROM DIFFERENT GEOLOGIC FORMATIONS IN SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA
Journal: Environment & Ecosystem Science (EES)
Author: Chike Onyeke Madueke, Ikokwu Kalu Okore, Ebubechukwu Chizoba Maduekeh, Akudo Ogechukwu Onunwa, Maduabuchi Johnbosco Okafor, Emmanuel Chinweike Nnabuihe, Tochukwu Victor Nwosu
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Data on the nature, properties and potentials of soils is grossly inadequate in the rainforest belt of southeastern Nigeria. As such, policymakers and other land users have tended to subscribe to unduly generalized ideas about the soils of the region. This has led to improper land use planning and aggravated land degradation. This necessitated the need for the comparative evaluation of the nature and potentials of the soils of the region to determine their degree of variability. Profile pits were dug in four towns underlain by different geologic formations: Umungwa (Benin Formation), Umuawa Ogii (Nsukka Formation), Ikpem (Igbaku Sandstones) and Amuro (Imo Clay Shales). The soils were characterized and classified using the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Soil Taxonomy and land capability classification. The variability of soils across the different sites was subsequently analysed using the coefficient of variation (CV). The results show that the variability of sand across the study sites was moderate (20 – 21 %), silt was high (63 %), clay ranged from moderate (34 %) to high (52 %), while hydraulic conductivity was very high (128 – 144 %). Similarly, with regards to the chemical properties, soil pH and base saturation ranged from moderate (20 – 49 %) to high (52 %), while effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC) and aluminium saturation were high (70 – 77 %). It was concluded that the soils of southeastern Nigeria are very heterogeneous. Undue generalization should consequently be discouraged.