Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 97–111 | Cite as

Agroforestry systems and soil surface management of a tropical alfisol:

II: Water runoff, soil erosion, and nutrient loss


Field runoff plots, 70 x 10 m each, were established on a tropical Alifisol in southwestern Nigeria to monitor water runoff, soil erosion and nutrient loss in water runoff. The non-agroforestry control treatment (A) was established at two levels: plow-till and no-till systems of seedbed preparation. There were two agroforestry systems based on contour hedgerows of (B) Leucaena leucocephala and (C) Gliricidia sepium established at 4-m and 2-m spacings. Field plots were established in 1982 and hydrological measurements were made for uniform maize-cowpea rotation for 12 consecutive growing seasons from 1982 through 1987.

Once established hedgerows of Leucaena at 2-m spacing were extremely effective in reducing water runoff and controlling erosion. Runoff, erosion and nutrient losses were generally more from maize grown in the first season than from cowpea grown in the second. Mean seasonal erosion from maize was 4.3, 0.10, 0.57, 0.10, 0.64 and 0.60 t/ha for plow-till, no-till, Leucaena-4m, Leucaena-2m, Gliricidia-2m treatments, respectively. Mean runoff in the first season from treatments listed in the order above was 17.0, 1.3, 4.9, 3.3, 4.3, and 2.4 percent of the rainfall received. There were high losses of Ca and K in water runoff from the plow-till treatment. In contrast to runoff and erosion, losses of bases in water runoff from agroforestry treatments were relatively high, high concentration of bases in runoff was probably due to nutrient recycling by the deep-rooted perennials.

Key words

Maize cowpea soil degradation nutrient recycling pollution no-till plow-till water quality sustainable agriculture 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Lal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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