Characteristics and landscape relationships of Vertisols and Vertic Luvisols of Melbe, Tigray, Ethiopia

Belay Tegene

Sinet, an Ethiopian Journal of Science 19(1): 93-115


Accession: 002774587

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Characteristics and landscape relationships of Eutric Vertisols and Vertic Luvisols were examined in the title area. The Vertisols developed on nearly level to very gently sloping alluvial toeslopes, while the Vertic Luvisols formed on the very gently to gently sloping partly colluvium- and alluvium-covered lower footslopes flanking the toeslopes. The A horizons of Eutric Vertisols and the argic B horizons of the Vertic Luvisols were characterized by vertical cracks and high clay contents. The cultivated Vertisols and Luvisols were marked by accelerated erosion, low levels of organic matter, N and P, and by some imbalances in exchangeable basic cations. The factors that set the most serious limitations and constraints on the use of the uncultivated Vertisols were their poor drainage and workability. All of the Eutric Vertisols and some of the Vertic Luvisols had ESP >6 within depths of 100 cm, qualifying for sodic phases. Where irrigation development was sought, the two soil units needed to be carefully managed so that increased exchangeable Na ions in the root zones did not result in sodicity hazards.