Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment




Use of termite mounds as an index of soil fertility and their effects on some properties of an environmentally degraded ultisols


Author(s):

James Osa Ehigiator, Enuenweyoi Daniel Okunima *, Valerie Ifeyinwa Edosa, Edmond Airueghian

Recieved Date: 2015-04-30, Accepted Date: 2015-09-09

Abstract:

Field studies were conducted at the University of Benin site A currently under grassland vegetation and site B under forest vegetation separated by river with potentials for fadama cropping practices. Two termite mounds were obtained from site A and three from site B randomly to represent all the available mounds. Soil samples were obtained from the top, middle and lower portions of each mound. Control soil samples were obtained at depth of 0–30 cm and at distance of 4 m radius away from each mound. The soil samples were analyzed for their physical (sand, silt, clay) and chemical (pH, organic matter %, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and S) properties using standard procedures. The physico-chemical properties of the termite mounds and their respective adjacent soils were increased. Though soil pH was consistently higher in the five termite mounds, it was not significantly different in relation to their respective adjacent soils. Percent organic matter was significantly (P<0.05) higher in the five termite mounds by more than 9.3% over their respective adjacent soils. The increases in soil pH were occasioned by the higher contents of Ca and Mg in the mounds as opposed to lower levels in the adjacent soils resulting in low pH. The N, P and K values in all the termite mounds were significantly increased above their respective critical levels (0.15%, 8.5 and 0.18 cmol kg-1) suggestive of fertile soils. The P and K values of the termite mounds were increased by at least 16.5% and 31.7%, respectively, in relation to their adjacent soils. The soil texture of the termite mounds was sandy clay loam as opposed to the sandy nature of the adjacent soils. While the clay content was higher by as much as 28%, the sand contents were generally lower in the termite mounds and silt slightly increased more than the adjacent soils. The positive influence of the termite mounds on the soil physico-chemical properties indicate their use as indices of fertile soil.

Keywords:

Termite mound, soil fertility, organic matter


Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2015
Volume: 13
Issue: 3&4
Category: Environment
Pages: 144-146


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