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Soil organic matter assessment in natural regrowth, Pueraria phaseoloides and Mucuna pruriens fallow
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Biological and chemical components of soil fertility were quantified under three different fallow types and related to soil quality of an Ultisol in southern Cameroon at the end of a 9-month fallow. Soil organic matter (SOM), soil exchangeable Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+ and available P concentrations, effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC) and, soil acidity in the 0–10 and 10–20 cm layers were evaluated under: natural regrowth mainly composed of Chromolaena odorata and the legume cover crops velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens var. utilis) and kudzu (Pueraria phaseoloides). SOM quality was assessed by C mineralisation during a 4-week incubation at 28°C in the laboratory. In addition, particulate organic matter (POM), the most active part of SOM, was fractionated by wet sieving into coarse (4000–2000 μm), medium (2000–250 μm) and fine (250–53 μm) particle size classes and analysed for C and N contents. Under Mucuna, Ca2+, K+ and P concentrations, ECEC and soil pH were higher and C mineralisation was lower than under natural regrowth and Pueraria in 0–10 cm depth. Soil under natural regrowth had a higher C mineralisation in 0–10 cm indicating more labile SOM than in Pueraria and Mucuna fallow. There was no difference in weight of total POM, for any of the fractions between the three fallow types. However, both leguminous fallow species increased POM quality through a higher N content. Compared to natural regrowth, Pueraria increased N content in coarse POM by 36% in the 0–10 cm layer and by 19% (coarse POM) and 35% (medium POM) in the 10–20 cm layer. Mucuna increased N content in the 0–10 cm layer by 12% (coarse POM), and by 19% (fine POM), compared to natural regrowth. According to the differences in nutrient concentrations, soil acidity and the biological stability of SOM, the three fallow types ranked: Mucuna≥Pueraria>natural regrowth. However, in terms of POM quality the ranking was: Pueraria>Mucuna>natural regrowth.
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Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/4360
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