Characterization of some typical soils of the miombo woodland ecosystem of Kitonga Forest Reserve, Iringa, Tanzania: physico-chemical properties and classification


Despite the fact that miombo woodland soils have significant implications in global climate change processes, few studies have been done to characterize and classify the soils of the miombo woodland ecosystem of Tanzania. The current study was carried out to map and classify soils of Kitonga Forest Reserve, which is a typical miombo woodland ecosystem, in order to generate relevant information for their use and management. A representative study area of 52 km 2 was selected and mapped at a scale of 1:50,000 on the basis of relief. Ten representative soil profiles were excavated and described using standard methods. Soil samples were taken from genetic soil horizons and analyzed in the laboratory for physico-chemical characteristics using standard methods. Using field and laboratory analytical data, the soils were classified according to the FAO-World Reference Base (FAO-WRB) for Soil Resources system as Cambisols, Leptosols and Fluvisols. In the USDA-NRCS Soil Taxonomy system the soils were classified as Inceptisols and Entisols. Topographical features played an important role in soil formation. The different soil types differed in physico-chemical properties, hence exhibit differences in their potentials, constraints and need specific management strategies. Texture varied from sandy to different loams; pH from 5.1 to 5.9; organic carbon from 0.9 g/kg to 20 g/kg; and CEC from 3 cmol/(+)kg to 24 cmol/(+)kg. Sustainable management of miombo woodlands ecosystem soils requires reduced deforestation and reduced land degradation.



Miombo woodlands, soil properties, soil classification, Kitonga Forest Reserve, Iringa, Tanzania