ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND VEGETATION DEVELOPMENT IN SELECTED GULLY SITES IN IMO STATE, SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA

Author: Anyanele Wisdom Chibuzo
Department: Botany
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

This study examined the vegetative development and ecological characteristics of gully sites in Imo State, South-east Nigeria. The objectives were to determine horizon differentiation of the gully sites and relate same to soil morphology and physico-chemical properties. It was also aimed at determining plant species abundance, biological productivity, root proliferation and characteristics of plant roots in the gully profile and to determine the ability of some dominant specie present in reducing the rate of erosion. The study was carried out in three different locations of gully erosion sites, which include the urban, semi-urban and rural areas. The results showed that Panicum maximum was the most dominant plant species with the important value index of 58.01, 47.88, and 41.19 respectively as against Tridax procumbens with 3.60, 18.45, and 8.095, as the least dominant species. The depth of the gully horizon by location showed that depth was higher in urban location (5.783m) and lowest in the rural location (1.842m). Plant species diversity was higher in rural location (0.91) than in the urban location (0.83), and when aspects are taken into consideration, it is higher towards the east aspect of the gully than the west. Root proliferation in the gully was higher in the rural location (961.56) than in urban location (295.28). Plant species diversity growing on the gully profile was also higher in the rural location (2.72) than in the urban (0.97). Soil characterization of the gully showed that % soil moisture (39.31), % organic matter (1.707), % organic carbon (0.973), soil pH (5.22) and % clay (29.85) were higher in the rural location than the others; while % sand (53..41), was higher in the urban location. In the horizons the soil moisture, (22.76), percentage organic carbon (1.09), percentage organic matter (2.41), soil pH (5.19), percentage clay (23.20), were higher in D1 horizon (i.e. upper layer) while percentage silt (34.03) were higher in D3 horizon (i.e. lower layer) than others. With respect to location, the analysis of variance indicated that there was significant difference in the soil moisture, soil pH, % sand, between rural, semi-urban and urban locations. (p<0.05). Horizon showed significant difference in soil moisture, organic carbon, organic matter, soil pH, % sand, % clay and % silt, while between aspect there was significant difference only in soil moisture and soil pH (p<0.05).

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