International Journal of Soil Science and Agronomy

International Journal of Soil Science and Agronomy Vol. 1 (1), pp. 001-009, November, 2013.© Advanced Scholars Journals
 

Full Length Research Paper

Characterizing major soil physical properties of coffee forest ecosystems in Ethiopia 

Taye Kufa

Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural  Research, Jimma Research Center, P. O.  Box 192, Jimma, Ethiopia. E-mail: kufataye@yahoo.com, Tel: +251-471 12 80 20, Fax: +251-471-11 19 99

Accepted 10 September 2013

Abstract

The study focused on assessing soil physical properties under natural coffee forest ecosystems in southeast and southwest Ethiopia. For this, the Harenna, Berhane-Kontir, Bonga and Yayu forest coffee soils were collected from three sub-sites and two soil depth ranges at each area. Hence, a total of 24 soil samples were analyzed for major soil physical properties using the standard procedures. The results depicted significant differences among the coffee forests in soil texture particles (silt and sand), bulk density, soil moisture content, water holding capacity, permanent wilting point and available water holding capacity. The proportions of silt followed the order of Berhane-Kontir,Bonga, Yayu and Harenna soils. In contrast, the highest sand and clay contents were from Yayu and Harenna soils, respectively, possibly reflecting their variations in soil weathering process and parent materials, among others. Likewise, there were significant differences between soil depths in most soil physical parameters. In contrast to the increased clay and available water content, the silt and sand particles declined with the decrease in depth, indicating the more vulnerability of forest soils to erosion loss. The results also depicted that clay was negatively correlated with silt particles at all study areas. In contrast, the association between soil water contents at field capacity and permanent wilting point was direct and highly significant at most locations. In conclusions, the findings showed considerable site-specific variations in major soil physical properties and provided soil quality evidences for knowing and promoting natural coffee forest habitats in Ethiopia and elsewhere.    

Key words: Certification, correlation, forest habitat, In-situ conservation, montane rainforest, soil properties, wild Ethiopian coffee. 

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