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Soil Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Contents along a Gradient of Agricultural Intensity in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania

1
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam 35097, Tanzania
4
School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
5
Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Padova, 35121 Padua, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2020, 9(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9040121
Received: 12 March 2020 / Revised: 15 April 2020 / Accepted: 16 April 2020 / Published: 18 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
The preservation of soils which provide many important services to society is a pressing global issue. This is particularly the case in countries like Tanzania, which will experience rapid population growth over coming decades. The country is also currently experiencing rapid land-use change and increasing intensification of its agricultural systems to ensure sufficient food production. However, little is known regarding what the long term effects of this land use change will be, especially concerning soil quality. Therefore, we assessed the effect of irrigation and fertilization in agricultural systems, going from low intensity smallholder to high intensity commercial production, on soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorous (TP) concentrations and stocks. Soil sampling was conducted within Kilombero Plantations Ltd. (KPL), a high intensity commercial farm located in Kilombero, Tanzania, and also on surrounding smallholder farms, capturing a gradient of agricultural intensity. We found that irrigation had a positive effect on SOC concentrations and stocks while fertilization had a negative effect. Rain-fed non-fertilized production had no effect on soil properties when compared to native vegetation. No difference was found in concentrations of TN or TP across the intensity gradient. However, TN stocks were significantly larger in the surface soils (0–30 cm) of the most intensive production system when compared to native vegetation and smallholder production. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil organic carbon; agricultural intensity; nitrogen; phosphorous; irrigation; fertilization soil organic carbon; agricultural intensity; nitrogen; phosphorous; irrigation; fertilization
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Livsey, J.; Alavaisha, E.; Tumbo, M.; Lyon, S.W.; Canale, A.; Cecotti, M.; Lindborg, R.; Manzoni, S. Soil Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Contents along a Gradient of Agricultural Intensity in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. Land 2020, 9, 121.

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