Global Advanced Research Journal of Agricultural Science (GARJAS) ISSN: 2315-5094
July 2017 Vol. 6(7): pp. 181-187
Copyright © 2017 Global Advanced Research Journals

 

Review 

Litter quality effects on soil stability and erodibility of selected South African soils

Cosmas Parwadaa, Johan Van Tolab

 

aDepartment of Agronomy, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa

bDepartment of Soil-and Crop-and Climate Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Email: cparwada@gmail.com 

Accepted 22 May, 2017

 

Abstract

Literature on soil erosion in South Africa, classifies soils in Eastern Cape (EC) Province as dispersive and highly unstable to erosion due to low (< 4%) soil organic matter (SOM) content. Many traditional strategies in controlling soil erosion are failing in EC, suggesting need for alternatively different strategies. Addition of organic matter (OM) to increase SOC maybe a solution. SOC threshold levels of SOC in soil aggregation have been extensively studied but little on synergistic effects of quality and soil stability. A well aggregated soil is stable and resists erosive forces hence low rates of soil erosion. This review was to get an insight on the role of SOC and its corresponding quality in stabilizing soils against erosion. Literature suggested that SOC content has to be high (> 2%) in stable soils and quality influenced the resident time (RT) of SOC in the soil. High quality SOC (C: N < 24) is fast lost through decomposition than low quality (C: N > 24). This can be concluded that under same soil, slow decomposable SOC has prolonged effects in soil stabilization than fast decomposing high quality SOC. Different sources of OM can be used to enhance soil aggregation but relationship between OM quality and aggregation is yet to be studied. A better understanding of the spatial variability of OM is important for refining soil conservation management practices and improving sustainable land use. The generated information can assist in formulating soil erosion policies and erosion control strategies in EC and South Africa at large.

Keywords: unstable soils, litter quality, stabilization, synergistic, quantity.

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