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Land capability classification and land use in an agro-ecological area fringing river benue, nigeria

Author: 
James Ochepo Adikwu
Subject Area: 
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Abstract: 

Although land capability assessment provides a ranking of the ability of an area to support a range of agricultural activities on a sustainable basis people in most parts of the world show less interest than apathy to it. More often than not, farmers in most nations depend on local knowledge of land capability identification; employing especially vegetation type parameter rather than empirical studies of soils together with other attributes of the land. In Nigeria, the demand for good understanding of the physical characteristics of land, its inherent qualities and farm management practices in the nation to maximize profits in agricultural investments in recent times is great. This study is undertaken in Obagaji Area in that spirit. Some specific materials used include compass, spade, pickaxe, trowel, tape measure, containers for soil samples, soil auger and note book. The primary sources of data for this study are the farmers and their farms while maps: 1:250000 map of Nigerian Vegetation and Land use covering 1976/1993/95 periods on four adjoining sheets;-64:Markurdi are the secondary sources. Data analysis involved the use of descriptive statistics. The data collected for this study include soil field texture, general thickness of soil profile, soil erosion hazards, water logging and flooding, land use and farm management practices. Soil sample collected at root depth were analyzed for texture, permeability and internal drainage. The land capability map was prepared based on the observed general textural characteristics and depth of the soil, degree of slope and erosion hazards. The maps were prepared based on the guidelines for soil profile description presented by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Class II is the dominant soil class in the study area, while loamy soil is the commonest soil textural class. Generally, the soils are both non-alkaline and non-saline. Obagaji area is a farming region where a large number of farmlands are left unused while many others are underutilised, only a negligible number are intensively cultivated. Emphasis has been on extensive farming system rather than intensive system.

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