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Effect of Pine Plantation Surface fires on Soil Chemical Properties in Uganda

Author Affiliations

  • 1Dept. of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, Makerere University, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Kampala, UGANDA
  • 2Dept. of Environmental Management, Makerere University, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Kampala, UGANDA

Res. J. Agriculture & Forestry Sci., Volume 1, Issue (7), Pages 10-14, August,8 (2013)

Abstract

Population growth has increased demand for forest products, but supplies from natural forests have reduced due to degradation. Tree plantations have been established. However, plantation forestry in Uganda is greatly affected by the recurrent fires. Few studies on impact of fires on soil chemical properties have been done in Uganda. Research was carried out in Hoima District at Corewoods Limited to; i. compare soil pH in burnt and un-burnt plots, ii. compare the exchangeable bases (K, Mg, and Ca) in burnt and un-burnt plots, iii. to compare nitrogen, available phosphorus and soil organic matter in burnt and un-burnt plots. Diagonal sampling was used in both burnt and un-burnt areas where 6 plots each consisting of 5 sub-plots were made. Thirty (30) composite soil samples were collected from each area, giving a total of 60 for soil chemical analysis. Nitrogen, soil organic matter content, soil pH and exchangeable cations were determined using standard laboratory procedure. Data was analyzed using Mintab14 and the T-test was used for comparisons. Results showed a significant increase in soil pH in burnt plots (P value = 0.024), but no significant change in organic matter (P value = 0.077) and available phosphorus (P value = 0.77). Total nitrogen was significantly different (P value = 0.013). There were significant differences in exchangeable bases (Ca, Mg and K) in burnt and un-burnt plots with P values 0.018, 0.034 and 0.001 respectively. Due to the effect of fires on soil chemical properties, plantation managers should be fully equipped; and prescribed burning as management tool should be put on the discussion platform such that better techniques and skills are employed.

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