Soil characteristics in an exhumed cemetery land in Central Singapore

  • Subhadip GhoshEmail author
  • Shovik Deb
  • Lai Fern Ow
  • Dibyendu Deb
  • Mohamed Lokman Yusof


Soils in urban landscape act as a component for various ecological functions. For sustainable urban greenery and effective management of urban ecosystems, evaluation of soil quality is of paramount importance. A study was undertaken to assess the existing soil quality and determine spatial soil variability of an exhumed cemetery land in central Singapore, so that systematic and sustainable soil management practices could be implemented for its conversion into an urban park. A stratified sampling method was followed to collect the soil samples from three depths: 0–30, 30–50, and 50–100 cm. An integrated soil quality index (SQI) approach was undertaken to monitor the changes in soil properties. The visual assessment showed the uniformity of horizon distribution of the soil profiles across the park and the soils had acidic pH (\( \overline{x} \) 5.2) and moderately high bulk density (\( \overline{x} \) 1.6 g cm−3). Considering the soil depths, top layer had higher organic carbon content (\( \overline{x} \) 1.03%) and it was significantly lower in deeper layers (\( \overline{x} \) 0.71%). Detailed soil analysis results indicated that the soils of the proposed park area were in low fertility status, devoid of macro nutrients (available nitrogen: \( \overline{x} \) 486.1, phosphorus: \( \overline{x} \) 8.5 and potassium: \( \overline{x} \) 9.2 mg kg−1) and high in iron content (\( \overline{x} \) 114.8 mg kg−1), and can be classified as “Ferric Acrisol” (FAO WRB) or “Ultisol” (USDA). The SQI map of total soil (0–100 cm) was different from surface soil, indicating impact of human activities on overall changes in soil quality distribution.


Urban soil Urban park Ecosystem services Soil quality index 



The research was funded by National Parks Board, Singapore. The team gratefully acknowledges Mr. Yit Chuan Tan, Mr. David Morand, Dr. Amitava Rakshit, and Dr. Philip Varughese for their help in soil classification and soil analysis. We owe our profound thanks to Mr. Liang Jim for his encouragement and support for this project. We would also like to acknowledge Mr. Eric Ong, Mr. Vivek Govindasamy, Mr. David Kam, and the students from Republic Polytechnic for their technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Urban Greenery and EcologyNational Parks BoardSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Rural ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Soil Science and Agricultural ChemistryUttar Banga Krishi ViswavidyalayaCooch BeharIndia
  4. 4.Indian Grassland and Fodder Research InstituteJhansiIndia

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