Open Journal of Soil Science
ISSN / EISSN : 21625360 / 21625379
Current Publisher: Scientific Research Publishing, Inc. (10.4236)
Total articles ≅ 294
Latest articles in this journal
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 109-136; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.103006
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 58-89; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.102004
The soils of the semi-arid Sudano-Sahelian region of West Africa have been identified as being highly vulnerable to soil degradation with impacts on their capacity to provide goods and services in which soil microorganisms participate. Unfortunately, soil microbial diversity from this semi-arid region with high rainfall variability remains largely unexplored. The aim of the present study was to characterize the diversity and composition of the soil bacterial communities and to identify factors involved in their spatial distribution along an environmental gradient in Senegal. Samples were collected from non-anthropogenic sites across four pedoclimatic zones. Bacterial communities were characterized using next-generation sequencing and soil physico-chemical parameters were determined. Our results showed that Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Gemmatimonadetes, Acidobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia phyla were predominant in the soils of the region. Bacterial α-diversity was stable along the environmental gradient whereas β-diversity highlighted significant changes in the composition of the soil bacterial community. Changes were driven by shifts in the relative abundance of OTUs belonging mainly to the genus Bacillus, Conexibacter, Kaistobacter, Solirubrobacter, Ktedonobacter, Sphingomonas, Microvirga, Rubrobacter and Pelobacter. Soil properties like pH, soil moisture and clay content were the environmental parameters identified as drivers of the composition of the bacterial communities in the semi-arid Sudano-Sahelian region of Senegal (West Africa).
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 257-273; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.107014
Declining yields in oil palm fresh fruit bunch (FFB) have been recorded over the past years in the coastal lowlands of southwest Cameroon and current actual yields are very low (−1•yr−1) compared to the potential yields (25 t FFB ha−1•yr−1). One of the problems limiting optimum oil palm production is lack of detailed pedological information to guide plantation establishment and management. A land suitability evaluation was carried out for some major oil palm producing areas of southwest Cameroon to identify land qualities limiting optimal production. Thirteen sites (9 with sedimentary parent materials and 4 with volcanic parent material) were evaluated using a parametric method. Results indicate that climate was not a major limiting factor for oil palm production in coastal plains of southwest Cameroon. However, soil physical characteristics (mainly clayey texture and poor drainage) and soil fertility constitute limitations to oil palm production. Specifically, limitations in cation exchange capacity (CEC), base saturation (BS), organic carbon (OC) and pH were slight to moderate while K mole fraction was the most severe and the most limiting in all the sites. The fertility limitations were more pronounced in soils derived from sedimentary parent materials where 33% had limitations caused by soil pH and OC compared to none for volcanic soils. In addition, 77.8% of sedimentary soils had limitations caused by CEC compared to 25% for volcanic soils. Considering the overall suitability, soils derived from volcanic parent materials were potentially more suitable for oil palm cultivation ((S3)—50%, (S2)—50%) compared to sedimentary soils ((N)—11%, (S3)—78% and (S2)—11%). Based on the suitability classes of the different soils derived from dissimilar parent materials, appropriate site-specific soil management is needed to improve oil palm yields, especially with emphasis on K fertilization and improved soil water management. Plantation management in coastal plains of South West Cameroon therefore should factor in differences in soil parent material.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 233-243; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.106012
Soil bulk density and moisture content are dynamic properties that vary with changes in soil and field conditions and have many agricultural, hydrological and environmental implications. The main objective of this study was to compare between a soil core sampling method (core) and the CPN MC-3 EliteTM nuclear gauge method (radiation) for measuring bulk density (ρB) and volumetric moisture content (θv) in a clay loam soil. Soil ρB and θv measurements were determined using the core and radiation methods at 0 - 10 and 10 - 20 cm soil depths. The mean values of soil ρB obtained using the core method (1.454, 1.492 g·cm−3) were greater than those obtained using the radiation method (1.343, 1.476 g·cm−3) at the 0 - 10 and 10 - 20 cm depths, respectively. Mean ρB and θv values averaged across both depths (referred to as the 0 - 20 cm depth) measured by the core method were 4.47% and 22.74% greater, respectively, than those obtained by the radiation method. The coefficients of variation (CV) of soil ρB values measured by the core method were lower than the CV values of those measured by the radiation method at both depths; however, the CV’s of ρB values for both methods were larger at the 0 - 10 cm depth than those measured at the 10 - 20 cm depth. Similarly, the CV values of soil θv values measured by the core method were lower than the CV values of those measured by the radiation method at both depths. There were significant differences between two methods in terms of ρB and θv, with the core method generating greater values than the radiation method at the 0 - 20 cm depth. These discrepancies between the two methods could have resulted from soil compaction and soil disturbance caused by the core and radiation techniques, respectively, as well as by other sources of error. Nevertheless, the core sampling method is considered the most common one for measuring ρB for many agricultural, hydrological and environmental studies in most soils.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 1-15; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.101001
Inorganic fertilizers are alternative ways of providing the necessary nutrients to rice crop and increase its productivity. In order to identify the factors determining inorganic fertilizer technology adoption and rainfed rice yield, a survey was carried out among 763 farmers in 11 municipalities in four agriculture development centers (ADC) of Benin. Composite soil samples were collected from 227 farmer fields and analyzed at the laboratory. Rainfed rice yields were determined in these different fields. Data collected was analyzed with R version 3.5.1 software. Results show that inorganic fertilizer technology adoption depends significantly on age, educational status, household size, contribution of rice to household income and organic fertilizer use (0.004 kg⋅ha−1 with a mean of 74.68 kg⋅ha−1. The quantities of inorganic fertilizer applied differ more importantly from one farmer to another and range from 4.58% to 90.5% with a mean of 27.15% of the level recommended by research. However, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, organic carbon, pH water, and exchanging capacity cation determine the rainfed rice yield. The policies that aim at promoting inorganic fertilizer among rainfed rice farmers must take into account these factors.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 16-43; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.101002
One only needs to study the soil and geologic history and location of the ancient Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to understand why Len Small levee if patched will continue to fail. Much of Dogtooth Bend located in Alexander County, Illinois was originally in the ancient Ohio River valley (Figure 1) alluvial sediments north and east of the confluence with the ancient Mississippi River. The ancient Ohio River valley soils underlain by alluvial sediments and have been easily eroded by the re-aligning modern Mississippi River which now travels through the bedrock controlled Thebes Gap (Figure 2) and into the Ancient Ohio river valley. The primary objectives of this paper are: 1) to explain why Len Small levee, Alexander County, Illinois, US will continue to breach during major flooding events if repaired and 2) to develop a new combined raised causeway and levee system which will provide a Mississippi River floodwater bypass, be sustainable, encourage and fund a land use change, restore the degraded highway road beds, protect remaining Dogtooth Bend farmsteads and farmland that have not yet been degraded by past flooding events and provide floodwater storage during major flooding events at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 298-305; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.107016
Soil temperature controls gaseous nitrogen losses through nitrous oxide (N2O) and ammonia (NH3) fluxes. Eight surface soils from agricultural fields across the United States were incubated at 10°C, 20°C, and 30°C, and N2O and NH3 flux were measured twice a week for 91 and 47 d, respectively. Changes in cumulative N2O and NH3 flux and net N mineralization at three temperatures were fitted to calculate Q10 using the Arrhenius equation. For the majority of soils, Q10 values for the N2O loss ranged between 0.23 and 2.14, except for Blackville, North Carolina (11.4) and Jackson, Tennessee (10.1). For NH3 flux, Q10 values ranged from 0.63 (Frenchville, Maine) to 1.24 (North Bend, Nebraska). Net soil N mineralization-Q10 ranged from 0.96 to 1.00. Distribution of soil organic carbon and total soil N can explain the variability of Q10 for N2O loss. Understanding the Q10 variability of soil N dynamics will help us to predict the N loss.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 217-232; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.106011
Looking of finding an alternative to the use of chemical fertilizers to increase yields of cassava (Manihot esculenta), trials were carried out in the Lamto zone in central Côte d’Ivoire. Thus, the effects of compost and ash from cocoa shell and NPK were tested on the agronomic parameters of cassava. The trial was conducted for two years with four varieties of cassava: Yacé, Alleda agba, Six mois and Bonoua, grown on elementary plots treated with one of these fertilizers. The experimental design was complete randomized blocks with three replicates. Analysis of the results showed that the Six mois variety gave the longest stems (131, 67 cm) with the cocoa shell compost. The Bonoua variety, on the other hand, gave the largest diameter of the stem base (21.56 mm), a higher number of leaves (77.30) and a large wingspan (136.89 cm) with cocoa shell compost. The leaves developed by the plants of this variety were wider (19.30 cm) and longer (17.96 cm) with cocoa shell compost. Also, this Bonoua variety treated with shell compost yielded a high number of tuberized roots (5.11), high average weight per plant (5.83 kg/plant) and higher yield (58.29 t/ha). This compost of cocoa shell has also allowed a better conservation of the cultivated soils quality.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 194-215; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.105010
For more than 2500 years, soil tunnels have been used in warfare and smuggling. Initially tunnels were utilized to attack fortresses that were underlain by unconsolidated (non-bedrock) soil materials. Later tunnels provided housing and served as smuggling corridors. The medieval warfare undermining technique involved digging soil tunnels with wooden or beam props to hold up the soil ceilings. Then flammable material, such as hay or straw, was put in the tunnel and set on fire. The fire burnt the support beams which collapsed the soil tunnel ceilings and undermined the overlying perimeter wall. Later gunpowder and dynamite replaced fire when attempting to collapse a tunnel, fortress or perimeter defense. Modern warfare soil tunnels were the pathways used to move troops, weapons and supplies to the other side of a border or wall for surprise attacks. Most of the soil tunnels were placed in easy-to-dig unconsolidated soil materials that had a low water table and were not subject to flooding. Eventually, machinery was used to drill through bedrock permitting deeper and longer tunnels for troop movement or smuggling. However, when drilling through bedrock under international borders, the process creates both noise and vibrations which were often detected by the enemy. Once discovered the tunnels were often collapsed by blowing up the tunnel, injection of gas, filling with water or wastewater, or inserting barriers. A series of case studies will be examined with the goal of determining soil and site criteria required to permit successful tunneling. The most restrictive soil and geologic conditions will be identified as well as potential mitigation methods used to overcome the site restrictions will be documented. Countries with warfare or smuggling issues along their borders, such as Israel and United States, need to identify the sections of the border most likely to be undermined by soil tunnels. In the case of Israel their entire border is susceptible as a result of the favorable arid climate, soils and geology. The US border with Mexico can become vulnerable wherever a new wall is created. Without a wall there is usually no need for soil tunnels. The US Department of Homeland Security and border patrol will need to monitor the noise and vibrations, just like the Israel does, to identify future soil tunnel locations. Eventually most of 3200 km border will have a wall that will become the target of more soil tunnels for smuggling goods and people from Mexico into the United States.
Open Journal of Soil Science, Volume 10, pp 159-180; doi:10.4236/ojss.2020.105008
Water erosion remains the major problem in many countries, especially those with an extension in the arid and semi-arid area and those marked by a long dry season. The intensification of land degradation which is a result of the strong erosive dynamics on a global scale has stimulated the initiative of multidisciplinary researchers investigate the issue of water erosion from its various facets  . The goal is to preserve water and soil, two resources threatened. Multiple attempts were made to diagnose and implement empirical and experimental methods for quantitative estimation of soil loss caused by diffuse erosion. Indeed, the Eastern slope of the high mountains of Asir (Saudi Arabia), formerly worn and cut by the depression of rivers and undeniable branching of the river system, deserves to be studied in detail given the release of a huge erosive potential that is responsible for soil losses that are increasing gradually and continuously. The purpose of this paper was to validate the suitability of agricultural terraces in terms of soil preservation, using the results of the soil loss application as an indicator of the state of function of these latter. Many studies have addressed the agricultural terraces, however, only a few of them have focused on the relationship between erosion and agricultural terraces through an experimental approach. Previous work has concentrated mainly on their socio-economic impact; whilst the knowledge of their environmental impact remained scarce. In terms of the climate change context, soil erosion is becoming a central problem in Asir region. Thus, in this way, the application of the universal equation of soil loss was very helpful to explain and predict the role of each factor. Nevertheless, extreme caution and great care must be taken because of the application of this model outside its frame.