Phesheya E. Dlamini

Abstracts

4 Woody Plant Encroachment Effects on the Physical Properties of Vertic Soils in Bela-Bela, Limpopo Province

Authors: Rebone E. Mashapa, Phesheya E. Dlamini, Sandile S. Mthimkhulu

Abstract:

Woody plant encroachment, a land cover transformation that reduces grassland productivity may influence soil physical properties. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of woody plant encroachment on physical properties of vertic soils in a savanna grassland. In this study, we quantified and compared soil bulk density, aggregate stability and porosity in the top and subsoil of an open and woody encroached savanna grassland. The results revealed that soil bulk density increases, while porosity and mean weight diameter decreases with depth in both open and woody encroached grassland soil. Compared to open grassland, soil bulk density was 11% and 10% greater in the topsoil and subsoil, while porosity was 6% and 9% lower in the topsoil and subsoil of woody encroached grassland. Mean weight diameter, an indicator of soil aggregation increased by 38% only in the subsoil of encroached grasslands due to increasing clay content with depth. These results suggest that woody plant encroachment leads to compaction of vertic soils, which in turn reduces pore size distribution.

Keywords: soil physical properties, soil depth, vertic soils, woody plant encroachment

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3 Characterization and Evaluation of Soil Resources for Sustainable Land Use Planning of Timatjatji Community Farm, Limpopo, South Africa

Authors: Phesheya E. Dlamini, Vusumuzi E. Mbanjwa, M. Linda Phooko, Rhandu Chauke

Abstract:

The decline of yields as a consequence of miss-informed land-use decisions poses a threat to sustainable agriculture in South Africa. The non-uniform growth pattern of wheat crop and the yields below expectations has been one of the main concerns for Timatjatji community farmers. This study was then conducted to characterize, classify, and evaluate soils of the farm for sustainable land use planning. A detailed free survey guided by surface features was conducted on a 25 ha farm to check soil variation. It was revealed that Sepane (25%), Bonheim (21%), Rensburg (18%), Katspruit (15%), Arcadia (12%) and Dundee (9%) were the dominant soil forms found across the farm. Field soil description was done to determine morphological characteristics of the soils which were matched with slope percentage and climate to assess the potential of the soils. The land capability results showed that soils were generally shallow due to high clay content in the B horizon. When the climate of the area was factored in (i.e. land potential), it further revealed that the area has low cropping potential due to heat, moisture stress and shallow soils. This implies that the farm is not suitable for annual cropping but can be highly suitable for planted pastures.

Keywords: Characterization, land evaluation, land capability, land potential

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2 Assessing Vertical Distribution of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in Westleigh Soil under Shrub Encroached Rangeland, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Authors: Phesheya E. Dlamini, Abel L. Masotla, Vusumuzi E. Mbanjwa

Abstract:

Accurate quantification of the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) in relation to land cover transformations, associated with shrub encroachment is crucial because deeper lying horizons have been shown to have greater capacity to sequester SOC. Despite this, in-depth soil carbon dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in arid and semi-arid rangelands. The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon stocks (SOCs) in shrub-encroached and open grassland sites. To achieve this, soil samples were collected vertically at 10 cm depth intervals under both sites. The results showed that SOC was on average 19% and 13% greater in the topsoil and subsoil respectively, under shrub-encroached grassland compared to open grassland. In both topsoil and subsoil, lower SOCs were found under shrub-encroached (4.53 kg m⁻² and 3.90 kgm⁻²) relative to open grassland (4.39 kgm⁻² and 3.67 kgm⁻²). These results demonstrate that deeper soil horizon play a critical role in the storage of SOC in savanna grassland.

Keywords: soil organic carbon, vertical distribution, shrub-encroachment, savanna grasslands

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1 Stabilization of Soil Organic Carbon within Silt+Clay Fraction in Shrub-Encroached Rangeland Shallow Soil at the University of Limpopo Syferkuil Experimental Farm

Authors: Phesheya E. Dlamini, Millicent N. Khumalo

Abstract:

Shrub-encroachment leads to a gain or loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) in previously open rangelands. The stabilization mechanisms controlling the storage of soil organic carbon (SOC) within aggregates of shrub-encroached grassland soils are poorly understood, especially in shallow plinthic soils. In this study, physical fractionation of surface soils (0- 10 cm) collected from open and shrub-encroached grasslands was conducted to determine the distribution of SOC within macro-and- microaggregates. Soil aggregates were classified into four fractions by a wet-sieving procedure, namely >2000 (large macro-aggregates), 212-2000 (small macro-aggregates), 50-212 (microaggregates) and < 50µm (silt+clay). In both shrub-encroached and open grassland soils, SOC was greater in the silt+clay fraction. In this fraction, SOC was on average 133% greater in shrub-encroached compared to open grassland. The greater SOC within the silt+clay fraction is due to the greater surface area and thus more exchange sites for carbon absorption. This implies that the SOC physically protected within the silt+clay is stored long-term.

Keywords: Stabilization, soil organic carbon, aggregate fractions, shrub-encroachment

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