Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
SOIL, 2, 63–70, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2-63-2016
SOIL, 2, 63–70, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2-63-2016

Original research article 12 Feb 2016

Original research article | 12 Feb 2016

Effects of land use changes on the dynamics of selected soil properties in northeast Wellega, Ethiopia

Alemayehu Adugna1,2 and Assefa Abegaz1 Alemayehu Adugna and Assefa Abegaz
  • 1Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • 2Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wolaita Sodo University, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia

Abstract. Land use change can have negative or positive effects on soil quality. Our objective was to assess the effects of land uses changes on the dynamics of selected soil physical and chemical properties. Soil samples were collected from three adjacent soil plots under different land uses, namely forestland, grazing land, and cultivated land at 0–15 cm depth. Changes in soil properties on cultivated and grazing land were computed and compared to forestland, and ANOVA (analysis of variance) was used to test the significance of the changes. Sand and silt proportions, soil organic content, total nitrogen content, acidity, cation exchange capacity, and exchangeable Ca2+ content were higher in forestlands. Exchangeable Mg2+ was highest in grazing land, while clay, available phosphorous, and exchangeable K+ were highest in cultivated land. The percentage changes in sand, clay, soil organic matter, cation exchange capacity, and exchangeable Ca2+ and Mg2+ were higher in cultivated land than in grazing land and forestland. In terms of the relation between soil properties, soil organic matter, total nitrogen, cation exchange capacity, and exchangeable Ca2+ were strongly positively correlated with most of soil properties, while available phosphorous and silt have no significant relationship with any of the other considered soil properties. Clay has a negative correlation with all soil properties. Generally, cultivated land has the least concentration of soil physical and chemical properties except clay and available phosphorous, which suggests an increasing degradation rate in soils of cultivated land. So as to increase soil organic matter and other nutrients in the soil of cultivated land, the integrated implementation of land management through compost, cover crops, manures, minimum tillage, crop rotation, and liming to decrease soil acidity are suggested.

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Short summary
The purpose of our study was to explore the effects of land use changes on the dynamics of soil properties and their implications for land degradation. The result indicates that cultivated land has a lower organic matter, total nitrogen, cation exchange capacity, pH, and exchangeable Ca2+ and Mg2+ contents than forestland and grazing land.