Evaluation of the variability in runoff and sediment loss in successional fallow vegetation of Southern Nigeria

https://doi.org/10.17221/27/2013-SWRCitation:Iwara A.I. (2014): Evaluation of the variability in runoff and sediment loss in successional fallow vegetation of Southern Nigeria. Soil & Water Res., 9: 77-82.
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The effects of three different ages of natural fallow vegetation on runoff and sediment loss were investigated in a part of the rainforest zone of Nigeria. Measurements of runoff amount and sediment loss were made for the months of March to November in 2012 rainy season using runoff plots of 40 m2. The average runoff amount for the 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and farmland plots were 0.47, 0.26, and 0.41 mm respectively. The average sediment loss on the 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and farmland plots were 209.24, 50.54, and 124.68 kg/ha, respectively. The lowest losses for both runoff and sediment were recorded on the 3-year-old plot, while the 5-year-old plot experienced the highest losses. The variations in runoff and sediment loss among the treatments were significant at P < 0.001. The results evidently showed that rainfall was principally responsible for the erosional losses on all the fallow treatments, and that ground cover (density of herbs) and girth helped to reduce sediment loss on the 3-year-old and farmland surfaces, respectively. The high amount of erosional losses experienced on the 5-year-old fallow than on the 3-year-old fallow and farmland plots imply that fallow that is not adequately protected by ground cover experiences accelerated soil erosion. The continuous loss in topsoil rich in plant nutrients may prolong the optimal capacity of the soil to regain its loss nutrient for subsequent food crop cultivation.
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