Plant and Soil

, Volume 327, Issue 1–2, pp 185–198 | Cite as

Spatial patterns of P fractions and chemical properties in soils of two native shrub communities in Senegal

  • E. L. Dossa
  • S. Diedhiou
  • J. E. Compton
  • K. B. Assigbetse
  • R. P. Dick
Regular Article

Abstract

Two shrub species (Piliostigma reticulatum (D.C.) Hochst (Caesalpinioideae) and Guiera senegalensis J.F. Gmel (Combretaceae) are commonly found in farmers’ fields at varying densities in semi-arid Senegal and throughout the Sahel where soils have chronically low phosphorus (P) availability. It seems plausible that shrub litter and the rhizospheres could influence P fractions and other chemical soil properties that affect crop productivity. Thus, a study was done at two sites, on the distribution of inorganic and organic soil P pools, organic C levels, and pH in soil beneath and outside the canopies of P. reticulatum and G. senegalensis (0-30 cm depth). Both sites had low total P ranging from 64 mg P kg−1 to 135 mg P kg-1, and low extractable PO4 (resin Pi) (1–6 mg P kg−1) with P fractions dominated by NaOH-P. Organic P (Po) made up about 50% of total P, and most of the organic P (>60%) was found in the NaOH-P fractions. The labile P, particularly bicarb-Po was higher in soil beneath shrub canopies (8.4 mg P kg −1), than outside the canopy (6.2 mg P kg −1). Similarly, C, N and P to a lesser extent, were more concentrated beneath shrub canopies. P. reticulatum soil was dominated by the NaOH-Po fraction, whereas G. senegalensis had higher bicarb-Po at one of the study sites. An index of biologically available organic P (Bicarb-Po) / (Bicarb-Po + Bicar-Pi + Resin Pi) was  > 60% and indicates that biological processes represent an important part of P cycling in these shrub ecosystems. The differential ability of shrubs in modifying soil chemical properties under their canopies has major implications for biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and C in sandy soils of semi arid Sahelian ecosystems.

Keywords

Canopy soil P fractions Sahel Semi-arid Shrubs Total C 

Abbreviations

Pi

Inorganic P

Po

Organic P

1R

One canopy radius

3R

Three canopy radiuses

2R

Two canopy radiuses

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. L. Dossa
    • 1
    • 5
  • S. Diedhiou
    • 1
  • J. E. Compton
    • 2
  • K. B. Assigbetse
    • 3
  • R. P. Dick
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology DivisionU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.IRD, Unité de Recherche SeqBioLEMSAT (Laboratoire d’Ecologie Microbienne des Sols et Agroécosystèmes Tropicaux)DakarSénégal
  4. 4.School of Natural ResourcesOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  5. 5.AccraGhana

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