Soil Degradation in Qoz-Rom Mechanized Crop Production Scheme In Northern Upper Nile Province (Er Renk)

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Okel Akol, Ajawin
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Soil degradation, which is a process that reduces the capability of land to produce crop, a gradual deterioration, decline and decrease in soil fertility, is the main factor affecting crop production in irrigated and mechanized agricultural schemes. Even though the phenomenon is occurring mainly in the arid and semi- arid lands, it also takes place in some regions where its causative factors are prevailing. This study was an outcome of the observe indictors of soil degradation which were : signs of low fertility ,deforestation ,increase in the percentage of the sandy soil in the whole area as a result of wind erosion ,and gully erosion . This study was therefore, to determine the physical and chemical properties of the soil at Qoz-Rom mechanized crop production scheme in Northern Upper Nile Province (Er Renk) during the period 1972 and 2003, In addition, to the main soil degradative agents in the area. The study depended largely upon comparing the laboratory analysis results of soil samples of 1972, with those of the year 2003. In order to achieve the objectives of this study , some scientific research methods were used such as the laboratory method used for obtaining laboratory results in the soil samples of 2003,social survey method as means of collecting data in the area; comparative method used in comparing maps which were produced from satellite imageries of the years 1972, 1996and 2000. In addition, the descriptive and statistical analysis was used for analysis and representation of the statistical data in to different forms of figures. The results revealed that there was ( i ) substantial decrease in the amount of chemical properties of soil , (ii ) fluctuation in the physical properties of the soil, (iii) decrease in the percentage of soil organic matter ,which is the plant nutrients elements , (iv ) and large increase in the percentage in sandy soil compared to the percentage of 1972. By comparing the maps which were produced from satellite imageries for different years, it was found that the disappearance of vegetation cover was a result of the; ( i ) agricultural expansion and the use of agricultural machinery ( ii )operation of cutting down of trees especially some species that are used for production of charcoal for financial purposes. The study concluded that, soil degradation in Qoz-Rom mechanized crop production scheme, was caused by a combination of factors, these included:( i ) the disappearance of vegetation cover, ( ii ) the increase in the percentage of sandy soil as a result of wind erosion ( iii ) low soil fertility due to the process of leaching of plant nutrients caused by soil permeability and precipitation and ( iv ) water erosion process ( erosion , transportation and deposition ) of clay soil through Khor Abu-Khadra which is in the middle of the area. The study has proposed some recommendations such as the application of deep ploughing, agro- rotation system, planting of vegetation zone in the Eastern side of sand dunes for limiting wind erosion in the area