Aggregate characteristics and aggregate-associated soil organic carbon and carbohydrates of soils under contrasting tree land use

Bassey Udom, Joshua Ogunwole, Chima Wokocha


Protection of soil organic carbon and acid-hydrolyzable carbohydrates in aggregate-size fractions is important for appraising soil degradation and aggregation under land use types. Aggregate-associated soil organic carbon (SOC) and acid-hydrolyzable carbohydrates (R-CHO) in bulk soils and aggregate-size fractions of a sandy loam soil under Alchornea bush, Rubber, Oil palm and Teak plantations in southern Nigeria were studied. Results revealed significant differences in aggregate-associated SOC and R-CHO, bulk densities, total porosity, soil organic carbon stock and aggregate stability among the land use types. Greater SOC was stored in macro-aggregates >0.25 mm, while greater R-CHO was occluded in micro-aggregates <0.25 mm (p<0.05). The highest mean weight diameter (MWD) was 1.01 mm in Alchornea soils and 0.92 mm in Oil palm plantation at 0-15 cm topsoil. Soil organic carbon stock in 0-15 cm topsoil was 77.7, 81.8, 92.2, and 67.5 kg C ha-1 in Alchornea, Rubber, Oil palm, and Teak soils, respectively. Relationships showed a positive linear correlations between MWD and SOC (r = 0.793, p < 0.05) and R-CHO (r = 0.789. p < 0.05). Alchornea bush and Oil palm plantation increased macro-aggregate formation and macro-pores >5 µm, therefore they have greater potentials to boost protection of SOC in soil macro-aggregates.


Clay content; Organic matter fraction; Plant cover; Soil structure; Water-stable aggregates

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