You are on page 1of 8


© 2015,Science Huβ,

ISSN: 2153-649X, doi:10.5251/ajsir.2015.

Effect of Slope Gradient on Selected Soil Physicochemical Properties of

Dawja Watershed in Enebse Sar Midir District, Amhara National Regional
Mulugeta Aytenew

Department of Plant Science, MadaWalabu University, Bale Robe, Ethiopia


The present study was conducted at Dawja Watershed in Enebse Sar Midir District to investigate
the effect of slope gradient on selected soil physicochemical properties and to provide the basic
information about the fertility status of the Watershed soils. Soil samples were collected from the
0-20 cm soil depth of four slope gradient categories in three replications. Except available
phosphorus and exchangeable sodium, all the soil parameters were significantly (P < 0.05)
affected by slope gradient. The textural class of the soils varied between sandy clay loam and
sandy clay. The bulk density of the soils in moderately steep slope (1.42 g cm ) was the highest
-3 -3 -3
followed by strongly sloping (1.41 g cm ), sloping (1.36 g cm ) and gently sloping (1.32 g cm ).
The total porosity varied from 46.42 to 50.10%. The pH of the soils ranged from 5.7 in moderately
steep area to 6.8 in gently sloping area. The organic matter content of the soils was generally low
and ranged between 1.25% in strongly sloping to 1.67% in gently sloping areas. Total nitrogen
content of the soils was between 0.14% and 0.18%. Available phosphorus was generally high in
soils of all slope gradients and ranged between 20.47to 22.50 mg kg . Calcium (32.91 cmol(+)
-1 -1 -1
kg ), Magnesium (4.19 cmol(+) kg ), Potassium (0.78 cmol(+) kg ) and Percent Base Saturation
(92.20%) were the highest at gently sloping area followed by sloping, strongly sloping and
moderately steep areas, respectively. The results further showed that the soils were generally
rich in exchangeable basic cations with CEC ranged between 28.20 cmol(+) kg in soils of
strongly sloping to 41.87 cmol(+) kg in gently sloping areas. In general, soils of the study area
are good in their selected physicochemical properties for plant growth except organic matter and
total nitrogen. However, the detrimental effects of slope gradient are higher at moderately steep
and strongly sloping areas as compared to sloping and gently sloping areas. Therefore, the soil
fertility management in the study area should focus on scenarios that could improve the soil
organic matter and nitrogen levels and special management practices such as terracing and
proper land leveling are required to improve the effects of high slope gradient on soil
physicochemical properties.

Keywords: Dawja Watershed, Effect, Rating, Slope gradient

gradient is one of the important topographic factors
INTRODUCTION that influence the process of drainage, runoff and soil
erosion thereby affects physicochemical properties
Soil is an important natural resource for agriculture (Farmanullah, 2013). Soil loss would normally be
that is the basic economic source of Ethiopia. The expected to increase with increase in slope gradient,
suitability of soil for crop production depends on its because of respective increase in velocity of surface
fertility level, which is evaluated based on the quality runoff and decrease in infiltration rate (Luk et al.,
of the soil’s physical, chemical and biological 1993; Zhang and Hosoyamada, 1996).
properties. One of the naturally occurring soils
forming factor that affecting soil properties and Amuyou and Kotingo (2015) reported that slope
controlling soil erosion processes through the gradients have marked influence in soil properties as
redistribution of soil particles and soil OM is expressed in the distribution in soils along slope
topography (Ziadat and Taimeh, 2013). Slope positions. Changere and Lal (1997) and Nejad and
Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

Nejad (1997) reported the effect of topography on soil In 2015, the slope gradient of Dawja Watershed was
genesis and development of soils and observed that measured by using clinometers, and four slope
slope gradient had direct and indirect effect on soil gradient categories (gently sloping, sloping, strongly
physicochemical properties. Gessler et al. (2000) sloping and moderately steep having a slope gradient
also found that variations of some soil properties of 2-5, 5-10, 10-15 and 15-30%, respectively) were
could be related to the slope gradient. The review of identified based on FAO (2006a) slope gradient
Bezuayehu et al. (2002) on nature and causes of classification system. Disturbed soil samples were
land degradation in the Oromiya Region, Ethiopia collected by using auger at 20 cm soil depth of each
revealed that soils on steep slopes are generally slope category in three replications, following the
shallower and their nutrient and water storage standard procedures. A total of 12 (4 ×3) composite
capacities are limited. They suggested that when samples were collected from the study area. The
soils in areas having steep slopes are exposed to soil samples were air-dried, crushed, and passed through
eroding agents, they face greater degradation 2 mm sieve for all soil parameters except for organic
consequences compared to soils in flat areas. carbon and total nitrogen, which passed through 0.5
In the area under study, soil fertility problems relate mm sieve. Similarly, 12 undisturbed samples were
with poor crop cultivation practices including collected by using core samplers that were 5 cm
cultivation on steep slopes, removal of crop residues diameter × 5 cm length, for the analysis of soil bulk
and overgrazing. Runoff and erosion takes place in density.
the study area in which slope steepness is the
dominant factor where the water removes the finer Soil texture was analyzed by determining the
soil particles including soil organic matter and plant percentage of sand, silt and clay in each soil sample
nutrients thus adversely affecting the soil by following Bouyoucos hydrometer method
physicochemical properties and crop productivity. (Bouyoucos, 1962). Once the particle size distribution
Investigating the effect of slope gradient on selected was determined in percent, the textural class of the
soil physicochemical properties is valuable to provide soil was assigned using USDA textural triangle
information on nutrient status of the soil, and to classification system (USDA, 1987). Bulk density of
design appropriate management strategies. the samples was estimated from undisturbed soil
However, data for assessment of the effect of slope samples using the core method. Total porosity of the
gradient on soil physicochemical properties is limited soil was derived from the bulk and the particle
in the study area. This study aimed to investigate the densities as:
effect of slope gradient on selected soil f %  1  pb pd 100
physicochemical properties and to provide the basic
information about the fertility status of Dawja where f = total porosity, pb = soil bulk density and
Watershed soils. pd = soil particle density which was assumed to
have the generally used average value of 2.65 g cm
The study was conducted in Dawja Watershed, which The pH (H2O) of the soil was measured
is found in Enebse Sar Midir District, Amhara potentiometrically in the supernatant suspension of
National Regional State, Ethiopia. In the area, the 1:2.5 in soil: water ratio using digital pH meter
elevation ranges from 2629 to 2965 masl and following the procedure outlined by Sahlemedhin and
dominated by 0-30% slope. The study area receives Taye (2000). The soil organic carbon was determined
average annual rainfall of 1053 mm and means by the wet oxidation method (Walkley and Black,
minimum and maximum temperature of 10 and 1934) in which the sample was first digested with
23.4°C, respectively. Vertisols are the dominant soil potassium dichromate in sulfuric acid solution and
types in Dawja Watershed. Crop cultivation and titrated with 0.5 N ferrous sulfate solution, and
animal husbandry are the main agricultural practices percent organic matter was computed by multiplying
in the area. Wheat (Triticum spp), teff (Eragrostis tef), the percent soil organic carbon by a conversion factor
barley (Hordeum spp), faba bean (Vicia faba), of 1.724. Total N content of the soil was determined
chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and grass pea (Lathyrus by wet-digestion, distillation and titration procedures
sativus) are the principal crops grown in Dawja of the Kjeldahl method as described by Black (1965).
Watershed. Cattle, sheep, goat and equine constitute The available phosphorus content of the soil was
major livestock in the area.

Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

determined using Olsen extraction method (Olsen et Soil Texture, Bulk Density and Total Porosity:
al., 1954). The ANOVA revealed that effect of slope gradient on
particle size distribution, bulk density and total
The exchangeable bases were determined through porosity was significant (P < 0.01) (Table 1).
extraction method with 1M ammonium acetate at pH Accordingly, the lowest sand content (46%) was
7. Amounts of Ca and Mg ions in the leachate were recorded on the gently sloping area, while the highest
analyzed by atomic absorption spectrophotometer, sand content (55%) was observed on the moderately
while K and Na ions were analyzed by flame steep area. Similarly, the lowest silt fraction (14%)
photometer. Cation exchange capacity was was recorded in soils of gently sloping area, while the
determined by leaching the soil sample with 1N highest silt content (22.67%) was in strongly sloping
ammonium acetate solution followed by leaching with area. On the other hand, the lowest clay content
neutral salt to displace the adsorbed ammonium (22.67%) was recorded in soils of moderately steep
(NH4 ). Thereafter, estimated titrimetrically by area, whereas the highest clay content (40%) was
distillation of ammonium that was displaced by recorded in gently sloping area.
sodium. The percent base saturation of the soil was
calculated as the percentage of the sum of the basic Looking the data regarding particle size distribution, it
exchangeable cations (Ca, Mg, K and Na) to the CEC was observed that the clay content showed an
of the soil (Bohn et al., 2001). increasing trend as slope gradient lowers while sand
content showed a decreasing trend down the slope
The analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to gradient. This is most probably due to removal of the
assess the significant level of difference in soil clay particles by erosion is enhanced on the upper
parameters among slope gradients using the general slope gradient while deposition of these particles
linear model (GLM) procedure of the statistical occurs on the lower slope gradient. Similarly,
analysis system (SAS) software version 9.00. Mohammed et al. (2005) reported that finer soil
Significantly different means (P < 0.05) were materials are deposit at the lower slope position,
separated by using the Duncan`s multiple range test where they are coming from the upper position.
(DMRT). Moreover, simple correlation analyses were
carried out to determine the magnitude and direction According to USDA system of soil texture
of relationships between the selected soil classification (USDA, 1987), soils under gently
physicochemical properties using SAS statistical sloping area had sandy clay while other soils of the
software version 9.00. study area are categorized under sandy clay loam
textural class (Table 1). Most field crops could grow
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS well in such soils having sandy clay and sandy clay
loam textural class as these soils have a potentially
well-balanced capacity to retain water, form a stable
structure and provide adequate aeration.

Table 1. Effects of slope gradient on the selected physical properties of Dawja Watershed soils

Particle size (%) pb (g cm )

Slope gradient Sand Clay Silt Textural class f (%)
c a c c a
GS 46.00 40.00 14.00 sandy clay 1.32 50.10
b b b b b
S 50.33 31.33 18.00 sandy clay loam 1.36 48.62
a c a a c
SS 54.67 23.00 22.67 sandy clay loam 1.41 46.74
a c a a c
MS 55.00 22.67 22.33 sandy clay loam 1.42 46.42
LSD (0.05) 1.49 2.56 1.61 0.02 0.90
SE(±) 0.43 0.74 0.46 0.01 0.26
CV (%) 1.45 4.38 4.15 0.85 0.94
P-value ** ** ** ** **

GS= gently sloping; S= sloping; SS= strongly sloping; MS= moderately steep
Note: - Values in the same column followed by the same letters are not significantly different at 0.05 level of significance; pb = Bulk Density; f = Total
Porosity; LSD = Least Significant Difference, SE = Standard Error, CV = Coefficient of Variation; ** = Significant at P < 0.01; P = probability level
-3 -3
The minimum and maximum bulk density values cm ) and moderately steep (1.42 g cm ) areas of the
were recorded for soils from gently sloping (1.32 g Watershed, respectively. The variation of soil bulk

Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

density among the slope gradients might be (Table 2). The lowest pH in soils of moderately steep
attributed to the variation of soil particle size slope gradient could be attributed to the loss of basic
distribution and disturbance of soil particles with cations through runoff and erosion. This in turn
erosion. For instance, the relatively lowest value of increases the activity of H ion in the soil solution and
bulk density in gently sloping area (1.32 g cm ) could reduces soil pH. In line with this finding, Nega and
be due to the high clay fraction, total porosity and Heluf (2013) reported that loss of base forming
less disturbance of the soil by erosion process, as cations through leaching and runoff generated from
this area has relatively level land position. However, accelerated erosion reduces soil pH and thereby
the reverse is true for moderately steep and strongly increases soil acidity. However, the increase in soil
sloping areas (Table 1). The bulk density of the pH at the gently sloping gradient could be attributed
studied soils was found to be less than 1.61 g cm , to the accumulation of bases that were presumed to
which is common and acceptable for sandy clay and have been eroded from the moderately steep and
sandy clay loam soils (Amusan et al., 2001). This strongly sloping gradients. Similarly, Garcia et al.
indicates that the soils of the study area are not (1990) and Hendershot et al. (1992) reported highest
compacted. basic cation concentration and pH at bottom slope
Significant and negative relation of bulk density with
clay (r = -0.97**) fraction and significant and positive According to Tekalign (1991) rating of soil pH, soils
relation of bulk density with sand (r = 0.96**) fraction with pH (H2O) > 8.0 are characterized as strongly
were observed in the correlation analysis output. alkaline; 7.4-8.0 as moderately alkaline; 6.7-7.3 as
Besides, bulk density had significant and negative neutral, while soils with pH of 6.0-6.6, 5.3-5.9, 4.5-5.2
relationship with OM (r = -83**) (Table 3). The and < 4.5 are rated as slightly acid, moderately acid,
correlation indicates that the presence of relatively strongly acid and very strongly acid, respectively, in
higher clay fraction and OM content lowers soil bulk reaction. Accordingly, the soils in the strongly sloping
density. In line with this, Achalu et al. (2012) revealed and moderately steep slope gradient were
that organic matter decreases bulk density through its moderately acidic, while soils in the sloping and
positive effect on soil aggregation. gently sloping gradient were slightly acidic and
neutral in reaction, respectively. Soil pH was
The lowest total porosity (46.42%) was recorded on significantly and positively correlated with CEC, OM,
moderately steep area, while the highest total clay fraction and PBS at r = 0.81**, r = 0.90**, r =
porosity (50.10%) was on gently sloping area. The 0.92** and r = 0.96**, respectively. However, it
lowest total porosity recorded in moderately steep correlated negatively with sand fraction r = -0.92**
slope gradient could be attributed to the high bulk (Table 3).
density, low clay content and low organic matter
content (Table 2). This is supported by the significant Organic Matter, Total Nitrogen and Available
and positive correlation with OM (r = 0.83**) and Phosphorus: There was statistically significant effect
negative and highly significant correlation with bulk (P < 0.01) of slope gradient on organic matter. The
density. On the other hand, the highest total porosity minimum OM was recorded in soils of the strongly
was recorded in the gently sloping area with the sloping and moderately steep areas, whereas the
highest clay content, implying the positive effect of maximum OM was recorded in soils of the gently
clay content on total porosity. This was also in sloping area (Table 2). The variation could be
consent with the positive and significant correlation contributed by the effect of slope gradient on the soil
between clay content and total porosity (Table 3). moisture storage capacity and biomass production. In
According to FAO (2006b) rating of total porosity, the the gently sloping area, the soil moisture storage is
percent total porosity values in all slope gradients better and resulting in better biomass production.
were very high (greater than 40%). This indicates that Furthermore, the expected impeded drainage could
the study area soils are physically fertile. also slow down the OM decomposition process.
However, in the strongly sloping and moderately
Soil Reaction: Soil pH (H2O) data showed significant steep areas, there could be high drainage, low
(P < 0.01) effect of slope gradient on soil reaction. moisture storage and less biomass production
The lowest pH value (5.7) was recorded on soils of thereby decreases soil OM content. This result is in
moderately steep slope gradient, whereas the highest agreement with the work of Abebe and Endalkachew
pH (6.8) was obtained on gently sloping gradient soils (2012) in Nitisol of Southwestern Ethiopia. Similarly,

Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

Nizeyimana and Bicki (1992) and Amuyou and Whereas OM correlated negatively with sand (r = -
Kotingo (2015) disclosed that organic matter has 0.88**) since sand particle allows further
been negatively correlated with the slope gradients. decomposition of organic matter (Table 3). The result
is in agreement with the investigation of Teshome et
According to the rating system established by al. (2013). In contrary, Tilahun and Asefa (2009)
Tekalign (1991) (Table 4), organic matter content of found that organic carbon was negatively correlated
all the slope gradients were categorized under low with clay content (r = -0.49**). As most of the soil
and below the critical level (3.4%). The significant low nitrogen is found in organic form, OM and total
level of soil OM in the study area could be due to nitrogen had positive relationship (r = 0.80**).
limited use of organic amendments for the
maintenance and/or improvement of soil organic Differences of slope gradient among the areas did
matter. not significantly (P > 0.05) affect Olson available P
(Table 2). However, numerical variations were
Similar with OM, total N was significantly affected (P observed among the slope gradients. The relatively
-1 -1
< 0.01) by slope gradient. The minimum and lowest (20.47 mg kg ) and highest (22.50 mg kg )
maximum values of total nitrogen were recorded for contents of available P were recorded in soils of
moderately steep (0.14%) and gently sloping (0.18%) strongly sloping and gently sloping areas,
areas, respectively. Results regarding total N respectively. Although it is not statistically significant,
revealed an increasing trend from moderately steep the variation is highly associated with the variation of
to gently sloping gradient, which might be due to their organic matter content in each slope gradient. As
downward movement with runoff water from higher seen from Table 2, the variation of available P
slope gradient and accumulation there at the lower content among the slope gradients is paralleled with
slope gradient. The result also indicates the that of OM content. This shows that soil organic
contribution of OM to the high total N. Total nitrogen matter could contribute for the presence of more
of all the slope gradients in the present study area available P in the soil system. In consent with this,
was in the range of medium based on the rating Fisseha et al. (2014) found low available P with in
suggested by Tekalign (1991) (Table 4). This reveals soils having low content of OM. However, Nega and
that nitrogen is found the limiting plant nutrients in the Heluf (2013) concluded that available P content of
study area due to low level of soil organic matter tropical soils did not necessarily decrease with
content and the limited use of nitrogen containing decrease of organic matter.
inputs like commercial fertilizer, plant residues and
animal manure. According to the soil available P rating suggested by
Cottenie (1980) (Table 4), all the slope gradients
The Pearson correlation coefficient revealed that soil under the study area were high in their content of
OM was positively correlated with clay content (r = Olsen available phosphorus. The preferred ranges of
0.86**). This is because of the reason that clay is soil pH (5.7-6.8) and mineral weathering could have
poor in aeration and slow in drainage properties considerable importance for the high content of
resulting in slow oxidation process in the soil system. available P in the studied soils.

Table 2. Effects of slope gradient on the selected chemical properties of Dawja Watershed soils
Soil parameters
Slope gradient pH OM TN (%) Av.P (mg K Na Mg Ca CEC PBS (%)
(H2O) (%) kg-1) …………………....cmol(+) kg-1………………….
GS 6.8a 1.67a 0.18a 22.50 0.78a 0.73a 4.19a 32.91a 41.87a 92.20a
SL 6.4b 1.51a 0.15b 21.92 0.64 b
0.44 b
2.81 b
23.87 b
34.00b 81.65b
SS 5.8c 1.25b 0.15b 20.47 0.55b 0.40b 2.63bc 16.73c 28.20c 69.82c
MS 5.7c 1.28b 0.14b 20.60 0.54b 0.39b 2.47c 16.10c 29.60c 68.27c
LSD (0.05) 0.41 0.19 0.01 4.84 0.13 0.27 0.18 2.23 4.29 5.23
SE (±) 0.12 0.05 0.01 1.40 0.04 0.08 0.05 0.64 1.24 1.51
CV (%) 3.30 6.65 4.95 11.33 10.57 28.10 3.06 4.98 6.43 3.35
P- value ** ** ** NS ** NS ** ** ** **
OM = Organic Matter; TN = Total Nitrogen; Av.P = Available Phosphorus; NS = Not Significant at P < 0.05

Exchangeable Basic Cations, Cation Exchange studied exchangeable basic cations except Na were
Capacity and Percent Base Saturation: All the significantly (P < 0.01) affected by slope gradient.

Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

Accordingly, the lowest and highest values of The lowest and highest CEC values were recorded
exchangeable bases were recorded for moderately for strongly sloping (28.20 cmol(+) kg ) and gently
steep and gently sloping areas, respectively (Table sloping (41.87 cmol(+) kg ) areas, respectively. The
2). This showed an increasing trend of exchangeable lowest CEC in the strongly sloping area was in line
basic cations concentration from moderately steep to with the relatively low organic matter and clay content
gently sloping gradient, which might be due to their (Table 1 and 2). This is in agreement with the finding
loss through run off and erosion in the high sloping of Teshome et al. (2013) in soils of Abobo area,
areas and accumulation in areas having lower slope Western Ethiopia. Based on the rating established by
gradient. FAO (2006b) (Table 4), the gently sloping area had
very high CEC, while all the other areas had high
The presence of significant differences in clay and CEC values, which might be attributed to the high
organic matter content of the soil among the slope specific surface area of the clay particles. The CEC
gradients might be an important reason for the was positively correlated with OM (r = 0.83**) and
variations of exchangeable basic cations. The special clay content (r = 0.95**). This indicates that the
variation of exchangeable bases depends on contributions of soil OM and clay content for the high
particles size distribution and soil management CEC is significant. In consent with this, Fassil and
practices (Heluf and Wakene, 2006). According to the Charles (2009) disclosed that the amount of clay and
rating of FAO (2006b) (Table 4), soils under the type of clay mineral present in the soils are important
gently sloping and sloping areas had very high Ca controlling factors for CEC.
and high K contents. Similarly, both Mg and Na
contents of the gently sloping and sloping area soils Similar with the exchangeable basic cations, percent
were rated as high and medium, respectively. base saturation (PBS) was significantly (P < 0.01)
Whereas, strongly sloping and moderately steep affected by slope gradient differences. Accordingly,
slope areas had high Ca, medium Mg, K and Na the PBS of the study area ranged from 68.27 to
contents. 92.20% (Table 2). The variation of PBS could
probably be associated with the variation of basic
Output of the correlation matrix revealed that cations and cation exchange capacity of the soils.
exchangeable basic cations have significant and The PBS of the soils in all slope gradients was rated
positive correlation with clay content and soil organic as high according to the rating recommended by
matter. This is to be expected since clay particles and Landon (1991) (Table 4). This indicates the generally
organic matter are capable of absorbing soil cations base-rich nature of the soils of the study area. The
on sites on their surfaces that carry unsatisfied high level of PBS in this study was related with the
negative charges. However, all basic cations were preferable soil pH range and clay content of the study
negatively correlated with sand content (Table 3). area. The PBS of the studied soils increased with
This is obviously, because sand particle fractions are increase in clay content (r = 0.97**), CEC (r = 0.86**)
chemically inert and are incapable of absorbing and basic cations mainly Ca (r = 0.95**) and Mg (r =
cations. 0.87**). This reveals any factor that could affect Ca,
Mg and CEC of the soil could also affect PBS in the
same manner.

Table 3. Pearson`s correlation matrix for selected soil physicochemical parameters

* pH OM TN K Na Ca Mg CEC PBS Sand clay pb

OM 0.90**
TN 0.74* 0.80**
K 0.70* 0.66* 0.63*
Na 0.62* 0.72* 0.70* 0.83**
Ca 0.90** 0.88** 0.82** 0.88** 0.81**
Mg 0.81** 0.75** 0.88** 0.85** 0.80** 0.91**
CEC 0.81** 0.83** 0.82** 0.87** 0.82** 0.97** 0.89**
PBS 0.96** 0.87** 0.76** 0.83** 0.71* 0.95** 0.87** 0.86**
sand -0.92** -0.88** -0.79** -0.86** -0.74* -0.98** -0.87** -0.94** -0.96**
clay 0.92** 0.86** 0.80** 0.87** 0.75** 0.99** 0.90** 0.95** 0.97** -0.99**
pb -0.89** -0.83** -0.72* -0.92** -0.76** -0.95** -0.86** -0.88** -0.98** 0.96** -0.97**
F 0.89** 0.83** 0.73* 0.91** 0.74* 0.95** 0.85** 0.88** 0.98** -0.96** 0.97** -1

Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

Table 4. Classes or ratings considered for some soil parameters

Categories or Ratings
Parameters Sources
V. low Low Medium High V.high
Soil OM (%) < 0.86 0.86-2.59
2.59-5.17 > 5.17 -
Tekalign, 1991
Total N (%) < 0.05 0.05-0.12
0.12-0.25 > 0.25 -
Av. P (mg kg ) <5 5-9 10-17 18-25 > 25 Cottenie, 1980
K (cmol(+) kg < 0.2 0.2-0.3 0.3-0.6 0.6-1.2 > 1.2
Na (cmol(+) kg < 0.10 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.7 0.7-2.0 > 2.0
-1 FAO, 2006b
Ca (cmol(+) kg < 2.0 2-5 5-10 10-20 > 20
Mg (cmol(+) kg < 0.3 0.3-1.0 1.0-3.0 3.0-8.0 > 8.0
CEC (cmol(+) kg <6 6-12 12-25 25-40 > 40
PBS (%) - < 20 20-60 > 60 - Landon, 1991
Amuyou, U. A. and Kotingo, K. E. 2015. Toposequence
CONCLUSION analysis of soil properties of an agricultural field in the
Obudu Mountain slopes, cross river state-Nigeria.
This work confirmed that soils of the study area are European journal of physical and agricultural sciences,
good in their selected physical and chemical
properties for plant growth except organic matter and Bezuayehu Tefera, Gezahegn Ayele, Yigezu Atnafe,
total nitrogen. However, the detrimental effects of Jabbar, M.A. and Paulos Dubale. 2002. Nature and
slope gradient are higher at moderately steep and causes of land degradation in the Oromiya Region: A
strongly sloping areas as compared to sloping and review. Socio-economics and Policy Research
Working Paper 36. ILRI (International Livestock
gently sloping areas. The decline in quality of soil
Research Institute), Nairobi, Kenya. 82 pp.
physical and chemical properties of moderately steep
and strongly sloping areas as compared to sloping Black, C.A. 1965. Methods of Soil Analysis, Part I.
and gently sloping areas were presumed to be due to American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin,
past soil erosion and runoff effect that removed the USA.
clay particles, soil organic matter and other plant Bohn, H.L., McNeal, B.L. and O'Connor, G.A. 2001. Soil
nutrients. Therefore, the soil fertility management in Chemistry, 3 Edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc, USA.
the study area should focus on scenarios that could Bouyoucos, G.J. 1962. Hydrometer method improvement
improve the organic matter and nitrogen levels of the for making particle size analysis of soils. Agronomy
soils and special management practices such as Journal, 54: 179-186.
terracing and proper land leveling are required to
improve the effects of high slope gradient on soil Changere, A. and Lal, R. 1997. Slope position and erosion
effects on soil properties and corn production on a
physicochemical properties for improving crop Miamian soil in Central Ohio. Journal of Sustainable
production on a sustainable basis. Agriculture, 11 (1): 5-21

REFERENCES Cottenie, A. 1980. Soil and plant testing as a basis of

fertilizer recommendations. FAO soils Bulletin 38/2,
Abebe Nigussie and Endalkachew Kissi. 2012. FAO, Rome.
Physicochemical characterization of Nitisol in FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 2006a.
Southwestern Ethiopia and its fertilizer Guidelines for Soil Description, 4 Edition. FAO,
recommendation using NuMaSS. Global Advanced Rome, Italy.
Research Journal of Agricultural Science, 1(4): 66-73.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 2006b. Plant
Achalu Chimdi, Heluf Gebrekidan, Kibebew Kibret and Abi Nutrition for Food Security: A guide for Integrated
Tadesse. 2012. Status of selected physicochemical Nutrient Management. FAO, Fertilizer and Plant
properties of soils under different land use systems of Nutrition Bullet in 16, Rome, Italy.
Western Oromia, Ethiopia. Journal of Biodiversity and
Environmental Sciences, 2(3): 57-71. Farmanullah Khan, Zubair Hayat, Waqar Ahmad,
Muhammad Ramzan, Zahir Shah, Muhammad Sharif,
Amusan, A.A., Shitu, A.K., Makinde, W.O. and Orewole, O. Ishaq Ahmad Mian, and Muhammad Hanif. 2013.
2001. Assessment of changes in selected soil Effect of slope position on physicochemical properties
properties under different land use in Nigeria. of eroded soil. Soil Environ., 32(1): 22-28.
Electronic Journal of. Environmental, Agricultural and
Food chemistry, 8: 03-023. Fassil Kebede and Charles Yamoah. 2009. Soil fertility
status and NuMaSS fertilizer recommendation of Typic

Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2015, 6(4): 74-81

Hapluusterts in the Northern Highlands of Ethiopia. Nejad, A.A. and Nejad, M.B. 1997. The effects of
World Applied Sciences Journal, 6(11): 1473-1480. topography on genesis and development of soils in
Kermansha area. Iran Journal of Science, 28(3): 99-
Fisseha Hadgu, Heluf Gebrekidan, Kibebew Kibret and 111.
BirruYitaferu. 2014. Study of phosphorus adsorption
and its relationship with soil properties, analyzed with Nizeyimana, E. and Bicki, T. J. 1992. Soil and soil-
Langmuir and Freundlich models. Agriculture, Forestry landscape relationships in the north central region of
and Fisheries, 3(1): 40-51. Rwanda, East-central Africa. Soil Sci., 153: 224–236.
Garcia, A., Rodriguez, B., Garcia, B., Gaborcik, N. Olsen, S.R., Cole, C.V., Watanabe, F.S. and Dean, L.A.
Krajcovic, V. and Zimkova, M. 1990. Mineral nutrients 1954. Estimation of Available Phosphorus in Soil by
in pasture herbage of central western Spain. Soil, Extraction with Sodium Bicarbonate. USDA Circular,
grassland and animal relationship. Proceedings of 13 939: 1-19.
general meeting of the European Grassland. Banska
Bystrica. Czechoslovakia. June 25-29, 1990. Sahlemedhin Sertsu and Taye Bekele. 2000. Procedure for
Soil and Plant Analysis. National Soil Research
Gessler, P. E., Chadwick, O. A., Chamran, F., Althouse, L. Centre, Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization,
and Holmes, K. 2000. Modeling soil-landscape and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
ecosystem properties using terrain attributes. Soil Sci.
Soc. Am. J., 64: 2046–2056. Tekalign Tadese. 1991. Soil, Plant, Water, Fertilizer,
Animal Manure and Compost Analysis. Working
Heluf Gebrekidan and Wakene Negassa. 2006. Impact of Document No. 13. International Livestock Research
land use and management practices on chemical Center for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
properties of some soils of Bako area, Western
Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Natural Resources, 8: Teshome Yitbarek, Heluf Gebrekidan, Kibebew Kibret and
177-197. Shelem Beyene. 2013. Impacts of land use on
selected physicochemical properties of soils of Abobo
Hendershot, W.H., Courchesne, F. and Schemenauer, R.S. area, Western Ethiopia.Agriculture, Forestry and
1992. Soil acidification along a topographic gradient on Fisheries, 2(5): 177-183.
roundtop Mountain, Quebec, Canada. Water, Air, and
Soil Pollution, 61(3-4): 235-242. Tilahun Chibsa and Asefa Ta’, A. 2009. Assessment of soil
organic matter under four land use systems in the
Landon, J. 1991. Booker Tropical Soil Manual: A Handbook major soils of Bale Highlands, Southeast Ethiopia b.
for Soil Survey and Agricultural Land Evaluation in the Factors affecting soil organic matter distribution. World
Tropics and Subtropics. John Wiley and Sons Inc., Applied Sciences Journal, 6(11): 1506-1512.
New York.
USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). 1987.
Luk, S.H., Cai, Q. and Wang, G.P. 1993. Effects of surface Soil Mechanics Level I-Module 3: USDA Textural
crusting and slope gradient on soil and water losses in Classification Study Guide. National Employee
theHilly loess region, North China. Catena Development Staff, Soil Conservation Service, USDA.
Supplement, 24: 29–45.
Walkley, A. and Black, I.A. 1934. An examination of the
Mohammed Assen, Leroux, P.A.L., Barker, C.H. and Heluf Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter
Gebrekidan. 2005. Soils of Jelo micro-catchment in the and a proposed modification of the chromic acid
Chercher highlands of Eastern Ethiopia: I. titration method. Soil Science, 37: 29-38.
Morphological and physiochemical properties.
Ethiopian Journal of Natural Resources, 7(1): 55-81. Zhang, K .L. and Hosoyamada, K. 1996. Influence of slope
gradient on interrill erosion of Shirasu soil. Soil Phys.
Nega Emiru and Heluf Gebrekidan. 2013. Effect of land use Cond. Plant Growth, Jpn., 73: 37-44.
changes and soil depth on soil organic matter, total
nitrogen and available phosphorus contents of soils in Ziadat, F M. and Taimeh, A. Y. 2013. Effect of rainfall
senbat Watershed, Western Ethiopia. Asian Research intensity, slope and land use and antecedent soil
Publishing Network Journal of Agricultural and moisture on soil erosion in an arid environment, Land
Biological science, 8(3): 206-212. Degrad. Develop., 24: 582–590.