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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #355160

Research Project: Conservation Practice Impacts on Water Quality at Field and Watershed Scales

Location: National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory

Title: Land use effects on physicochemical properties of soil in Miandam Valley, Swat, Pakistan

item YOUSAF, N - University Of Peshawar
item KHAN, B - University Of Peshawar
item Flanagan, Dennis
item MIAN, I - Agricultural University Peshawar
item RASHID, I - University Of Kashmir
item ULLAH, S - Institute Of Space Technology
item KHALID, S - Prime Foundation Pakistan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2018
Publication Date: 10/31/2018
Citation: Yousaf, N., Khan, B., Flanagan, D.C., Mian, I.A., Rashid, I., Ullah, S., Khalid, S. 2018. Land use effects on physicochemical properties of soil in Miandam Valley, Swat, Pakistan. In: The 11th International Symposium on Agriculture and the Environment (AgroEnviron 2018), October 14-18, 2018, Nanjing, China. p. 50-52.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Human induced land use practices that result in land cover change represents a major source of global environmental change (Foley et al., 2005; Turner et al., 2007; Hansen et al., 2013). Negative socio-ecological feedback due to depletion of key resources or from socio-economic changes cause land use transitions (Lambin and Meyfroidt, 2010). Soils are arguably one of the key resources, intimately linked to human security and the integrity of the wider environment (Haygarth and Ritz, 2009). This study reports the effect of land use/land cover type (LULC) on soil properties in Miandam valley of the Swat River in Pakistan (Figure 1), to raise concern about this deteriorating resource. Three land use types were considered for the study, i.e. dense forest, moderate forest and agricultural land. Soil samples from different LULC were analyzed in the laboratory for different soil parameters such as pH, electrical conductivity, bulk density, organic matter, texture, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and were related with LULC types. The results show that the different LULC classes have different soil properties across sites which also vary along the soil depths (Table 1). Soil pH was lowest at the dense forest sites and varied across the soil depth profile in dense as well as moderate forest sites. On the other hand, pH was highest in cultivated agriculture land, and remained more or less static across soil depth profile. The soil in dense forests showed the highest EC followed by moderate and agricultural land, while there no significant differences were found in EC across different depths in all the land uses. Agricultural land had the greatest bulk density followed by moderate and dense forest, although no significant differences in bulk density were recorded across the different depths. The results showed that the conversion of the dense forest into cultivated agriculture land resulted in significant reductions in soil organic matter (SOM) content. There was also significant difference in SOM across the depths in each land use type. The general trend in soil texture after the dense forest converted into the moderate forest and agriculture land showed an increase in the sand and a decrease in the silt and clay content, while there were no significant differences in the texture across the three depths in all three land use types. Unlike organic matter, the concentrations of total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were greater in the cultivated agricultural soils compared to moderate and dense forests soils. The top soil layer (0-20 cm) had higher amounts of N, P and K followed by the 20-40 cm and 40-60 cm layers, res06pectively, in all the three land use covers. Thus, the results of the present study reveal, that the conversion of forests into agricultural land has changed the overall physio-chemical properties of the soil, which could hamper restoration efforts by forest managers. Finally, the capacity of Miandam valley, Swat, Pakistan to provide ecosystem services would decline because of soil degradation. Management decisions should consider sustainable land use strategies in order to maintain the resilience of soil quality indicators and ensuring a permanent production.