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Impacts of land use on soil microbial biomass and soil organic status in Western Cameroon

Fotio D., Simon S., Ondo J.A., Mfopou Mewouo Y.C., Nguefack J., Njomgang R., Ngueguim M., Teguefouet P.. 2013. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare, 3 (1) : p. 99-111.

Living organisms and their enzymes are responsible of most of the soil biotic interactions in agro-ecosystems. This study was to evaluate the impact of land use (cropping systems and farming practices) on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil in Western Cameroon. We sampled soil (0-20 cm) in four different land use systems (extensive, intermediate, intensive and an undisturbed natural habitat). We also measured soil health indicators in each land use type. We observed that the total organic carbon (Corg) and P availability was significantly higher in agro-ecosystems as compared to undisturbed natural habitat. Similar trends were recorded for pH, electrical conductivity, and ?-glucosidase, dehydrogenases and acid phosphatase activities. We also recorded a significant variation in microbial biomass C (Cmic: 312.0 to 544.5 mg kg-1 dry soil) and microbial biomass N (Nmic: 5.40 to 25.31 mg kg-1 dry soil) with land use intensity. The Cmic/Corg ratios of soils were two-fold lower in agricultural lands with vegetables than the undisturbed control plot indicating a decrease in soil microorganisms. Regression analysis revealed a negative correlation (r = - 0.806, P < 0.01) between soil clay content and microbial biomass C, and a high Corg/N ratio suggesting a heterogeneous distribution of the population of microorganisms between soils and the immobilization of P, respectively. Our results suggest that the selected soil health indicators were sensitive to farming practices and cropping systems. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : matière organique du sol; fertilité du sol; activité enzymatique; propriété physicochimique du sol; micro-organisme du sol; agroécosystème; système de culture; pratique culturale; utilisation des terres; sol tropical; qualité; cameroun

Thématique : Fertilité du sol; Systèmes et modes de culture; Biologie du sol; Chimie et physique du sol

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