Effect of landuse on soil quality with emphasis on cultivated, bush fallow and pine tree forest in Pingire subcounty Serere district
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Uganda is one of the countries that depends highly on agriculture with over 70% of the working population employed in agriculture. The demand for food is ever on the rise due to increasing population. To meet the food demands of the ever-rising population the farmers need to bridge the gap between their productivity and that reported by the researchers. This study was conducted in Serere district in eastern Uganda to assess the effect of land use types on soil quality with aim to ascertain the productive level by comparing the three land use types (cultivated, bush fallow and pine forestland). The soil samples were collected at random with five samples at a depth of 0-15cm taken from each land use types. Visual soil assessment was done in each of the land use type to assess the soil structure of the study area. The soil samples were analyzed for texture this was to know the textural class of the soil and to know whether there is any change due to the land use type under study. Others included; nitrogen, phosphorus, exchangeable bases (K, Ca, and Na) and organic matter content in the land use types under study. The data was analyzed using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS). Soil pH was within the range required by most agricultural crops, as it was between 6.2- 6.4 with no statistical significant difference in all the land use types. Organic matter content also showed no significant difference (p>0.05) between cultivated and pine forest with cultivated land showing the lowest percentage of organic matter content of the three studied land use types. Nitrogen and Phosphorus were very low in all the land use types with Nitrogen showing no statistical significance (p>0.05) whereas phosphorus had statistical significance between cultivated and bush fallow (p<0.05). Exchangeable bases studied also showed no statistical significance. However, there was high sodium concentration than other bases in the soil. The low content of all the studied chemical properties implies that there is reduction in soil quality, which also affect the productivity of the land. Other conservation practices like organic manure application, minimum tillage should carried to boost organic matter accumulation, which helps to increase organic matter content hence improving the soil quality. In addition, other studies need to be carried out to identify the appropriate ways for improving the soil quality in the area.