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DYNAMICS IN PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF SOILS UNDER OIL PALM PLANTATIONS OF DIFFERENT AGES
  • Olufemi Osinuga
Olufemi Osinuga
Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta
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Abstract

Removing forest cover for oil palm plantations has raised questions about climate change problems and debates and their associated impacts. The design of the pruned fronds of the trees does not make them ideal for use as mulch cover on the entire farm, but they are heaped between the plant rows. This research investigated the changes in the physicochemical properties of soils under oil palm plantations of different ages. Soil surface (0-20 cm) and subsurface (20-40 cm) samples have been obtained from various ages of oil palm plantations (0-5, 5-10, 10-15 and, 15-20 years). Two distinct samples were taken on the same farm, under alleys and heaped pruned fronds. Soil samples used as a standard (control) were collected from adjacent forest land. Analyses of particle size showed that the soils were sandy loam to sandy clay loam texture soils. Bulk density was low and varied with age and depth. The soils were moderate to slightly acidic pH, relatively low organic carbon, total nitrogen, and available phosphorus contents. Based on the standard ratings, exchangeable bases and cation exchangeable capacity content were also low, while high percent base saturation was observed. Research findings have shown that the soil properties of different ages of oil palm plantations vary and should therefore be handled differently based on of their characteristics. Accumulation of organic residue on the floor of the plantations should be encouraged as this will help to increase organic matter levels.