Physical and chemical properties of soil in and around the termite mounds
Lamu, Kenneth Gerald
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Termites have peculiar activities in the soil which brings about changes in the soil properties. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of termite’s activities on the physical and chemical properties of the soil. The study was arranged in a randomized completeblockdesign (RCBD) with the slope and termite mound partsused as blocking factors. The study site was selected and divided into threeslope positions the top, middle and the lower or valley. And in each case one termite mound was selected from each section, Macrotermesbellicosus was found in all the four termite mounds dug. Three composite samples were dug from the termite mounds (top, middle and the base) and in addition, three composite soil samples were taken 2meters from the base of each mound from directions of (east, west and east west). One other mound was dug vertically and three soil samples were taken inside (top, middle and base). Laboratory analysis was then done to determine soil physical and chemical properties.Soils from termites’ mounds were found to be having higher amount of clay (51.8%) compared to soils around the mound with average of (39%) clay with the base and middle part of the mound having the highest amount of clay than the top part of the mound (54.0, 47.0 respectively). Higher amount of sand was found in the surrounding soils (54%) than in the soils from the mound (34%). Higher amount of silt was also found in the soils from the mound than from the soils around the mound (13.5% and 6.8 %) respectively. Higher amount of organic matter (3%) wasobtained in the soils from the termites’ mounds with the base having more amount of organic matter than the top and middle part (3.3%) compared to the surrounding soils (0.8%).Soils from the termite mound also had a higher amount of elements Like Nitrogen (0.6%) compared to soils around the mounds (0.3%), calcium (6.6cmol+/Kg and 2.9Cmol+/kg) in and around the mounds, respectively.Because of the high nutrient amount in the mounds than in the surrounding soil, the soils from the mound can be dug and spread on the soil to elevate nutrient amount in small scale farms.