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AGGREGATE STABILITY OF SOME COASTAL ISLAND SOILS OF BANGLADESH A. Begum, S.M.F. Rabbi, M.S. Amin* S.L.

Rahaman and M. Hasan Soil Science Discipline, Khulna University


* Corresponding Author(curzonbd@gmail.com)

ABSTRACT A study was conducted to evaluate the aggregate stability of some coastal soils of Bangladesh. Representative Soils were collected from seven char lands of Bauphal thana under Patuakhali district. The mean weight diameter (MWD) and water stable aggregates (WSA) varied from 0.02-0.39 mm and 0.35-4.15 mm, respectively and the highest value was found in Char Diara Kachua(1). The water stable aggregate (WSA) at >2mm was high in Char Miazan and at >1mm was high in Char Diara Kachua(1). State of aggregation and degree of aggregation varied from 0.0 - 8 % and 0.0 - 9.09%, respectively.

Key words: Mean weight diameter, Water stable aggregates Running title: Water stability of aggregates INTRODUCTION Soil aggregate stability is a frequently used indicator of soil quality (Nichols and Toro, 2011). Soil organic matter levels, soil biological activity, and soil functions (like water inltration, water holding-capacity, aeration, and nutrient availability) are related to soil aggregation (Six et al., 2004). Soil structure is a key factor in the functioning of soil, its ability to support plant and animal life, and moderate environmental quality with particular emphasis on soil carbon (C) sequestration and water quality. Aggregate stability is an indicator of soil structure (Six et al., 2000a). Aggregation results from the rearrangement of particles, flocculation and cementation (Duiker et al., 2003). Aggregation is mediated by soil organic carbon (SOC), biota, ionic bridging, clay and carbonates. Soil aggregates are held together by various organic and inorganic materials and through several mechanisms (Denef and Six, 2005). 1

Aggregate stability is a measure of aggregate's resistance to breakdown, usually measured by sieving in water. It is an important soil property due to its role on soil erosion rate and hydraulic characteristics such as infiltration rate. Aggregate stability is affected by soil texture, organic matter content, composition of soil solution, and composition of exchangeable cations (Robinson and Page 1950). Soils that have a high percentage of silt often show lower aggregate stability. The mean weight diameter (MWD) is an index that characterizes the structure of the whole soil by integrating the aggregate size class distribution into one number. The MWD has often been used to indicate the effect of different management practices on soil structure (Angers et al., 1993). About 80% soils of Bangladesh are Inceptisols developed on older and active floodplains. The soils are structurally immature and have distinct flood coating on ped faces. The work on aggregate size distribution of Bangladesh soils is rather scanty. Joshua and Rahman (1983) documented their pioneering work on aggregate stability of soils of Bangladesh. Rabbi et al. (2004) evaluated the aggregate stability of Bajoa, Ramgati and Barisal series and factors affecting their stability. The objective of the present research work was to determine the aggregate stability of some soils of coastal charlands of Bangladesh. MATERIALS AND METHODS Soils were collected from seven char lands at Bauphal thana under Patuakhali district on depth basis of 0-15cm, 15-30cm and >30cm and were placed in cellophane bags. The soils were then air dried and prepared for analysis. The particle size analysis of the soils was carried out by combination of sieving and hydrometer method as described by Gee and Bauder (1986). Textural classes were determined using Marshalls Triangular co-ordinate system. Particle density was determined by pycnometer as described by Black (1965). Bulk density of soils was determined by Pigulevskii (1936). The soil porosity was calculated from bulk and particle density. State of aggregation and degree of aggregation were calculated as suggested by Baver and Rhades (1932). Saturated hydraulic conductivity of soils was determined in the laboratory by constant head method (Klute, 1965). Soil pH (1:2.5) was determined using of glass electrode pH meter as suggested by Jackson (1973). The electrical conductivity 2

(1:1) of soil was determined by EC meter (USDA, 2004). Soil organic carbon was determined by wet oxidation method as described by Jackson (1973). In aggregate sieving analysis the aggregates passed through 8mm sieve but retained on 2mm sieve were used. Wet sieving analysis were performed as described by Jalota et al. (1998). The mean weight diameter (MWD) of the aggregates was calculated by the following formula (Van Bavel, 1949):

MWD =

XiWi
i 1

where Xi is the mean diameter of any particular size range of

aggregates separated by sieving and Wi is the weight of aggregates in that size range as a fraction of the total dry weight of the sample analyzed. The percentage of aggregates water stable aggregates was calculated by the following formula: %WSA = Sample retained on the specific sieve 100 Total sample analyzed

The percentage of aggregates retained on each sieve was corrected for the primary particles as described by Kemper (1965). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Particle size distribution Percentage of sand of the studied soils varied from 8-24. The highest sand percentage was obtained at 0-15 cm depth in soil developed on Char Kachua and that of the lowest was at >30 cm depth on Char Barret (Table 1). The variation of percentage of sand of soils developed on different Chars was not statistically significant. The percentage of silt varied from 65-79. The highest value obtained at 15-30 cm depth in soils developed on Char Miazan and the lowest value was at 0-10 cm depth on Char Daira Kachua (1) (Table 1). Percentage of clay of studied soils varied from 10 to 18. The highest value obtained at >30 cm depth in soil developed on Char Barret and the lowest value was at various depth (Table 1). Similar textural variation among the depth in Bhola series was reported by SRDI (2003).

Bulk density The bulk density of the studied soils varied from 1.29-1.66 g cm-3. The highest bulk density obtained at >30 cm depth in soil developed on Char Ray Shaheb and the lowest value was at 0-15 cm depth on Char Kachua (Table1). The bulk density increased with increasing depth in soil developed on Char Ray Shaheb but decreased with depth on Char Wadel and Char Diara Kuchua (1). Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that the bulk density of coastal soil varied between 1.05-1.39 g cm-3. Bulk density was bit high. It might be due self compaction of soils because soils were fine, loose, highly graded in inhibited coastal pedogenic processes (tidal effect, inundation, sedimentation etc.) Particle density The particle density of the studied soils varied from 2.27-2.63 g cm-3. The highest particle density obtained at >30 cm depth in soil developed on Char Barret and the lowest was at 15-30 cm depth on Char Wadel (Table 1). The particle density decreased with increasing depth in soil developed on Char Ray Shaheb. The particle density of soils developed on Char Miazan and Char Barret increased with increasing depth. Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that the particle densities of south western coastal soils varied from 2.38-2.83 g cm-3. Percentage of porosity Percentage of porosity of studied soils varied from 30.38-56.04%. The highest porosity was obtained at >30 cm and the lowest porosity was at 0-15 cm depth developed on Char Daira Kachua (1) (Table1). Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that the porosity of some coastal silt loam soils varied between 47.50-56.40%. State of aggregation State of aggregation of the studied soils varied from 0.08.0 %. The highest value of state of aggregation obtained at 15-30 cm depth in soils developed on Char Daira Kachua (1) and the lowest was at the depth of >30 cm on both Char Ray Shaheb and Char Miazan (Table1). Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that state of aggregation of some coastal silt loam soils can vary between 1 -15%.

Degree of aggregation Degree of aggregation of the studied soils varied from 0.0-9.09 %. The highest value obtained at 15-30 cm depth in soil developed on Char Daira Kachua (1) and the lowest was at the depth of >30 cm on both Char Ray Shaheb and Char Miazan (Table 1). Saturated hydraulic conductivity Saturated hydraulic conductivity of studied soils varied from 10.08-26.16 cm day-1. The highest values of hydraulic conductivity were at 15-30 cm depth on Char Daira Kachua (1 and 2) and the lowest value obtained at 0-15 cm depth in soils developed on Char Daira Kachua (1) (Table 1). According to classification, hydraulic conductivity (11.28-22.80) cm day-1 indicates slow to moderately slow. Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that the saturated hydraulic conductivity of some coastal silt loam soils varied between 1.16 to 9.50 cm day-1. Mean weight diameter (MWD) The wetting process usually causes considerable disruption of previously dried aggregates. The size of the aggregates after this disruption is apparently an important soil parameter. In the present investigation it was revealed that under wet condition the aggregates were not stable (Table 2). The mean weight diameter of studied soils varied from 0.02-0.39 mm. The highest mean weight diameter obtained at 0-15 cm depth in soils developed on Char Daira Kachua (1). Rabbi et al. (2004) and Ahsan and Rabbi (2006) reported that MWD of some coastal silt loam soils can vary between 0.13-3.26 mm. According to Rabbi et al. (2006), MWD of studied soils can be classified as a very weakly stable aggregate. The attempt has been made to subdivide the MWDwet range into classes depending on the stability of the aggregates (Le Bessonnais, 1996). The classes are 5 to 3 mm for highly stable aggregates, 3 to 1 mm for moderately stable, 1 to 0.4 mm for weakly stable and <0.4 mm for very weakly stable aggregates. MWD of the studied soil was <0.4mm. So the aggregate stability of the studied soils was very weakly stable.

Percent water stable aggregate (% WSA) The %WSA of >2 mm diameter varied from 0-5.15 and >1 mm varied from 0.704.35, respectively (Table 2). The %WSA increased with increasing depth. The aggregates of the studied soils did not exhibit high water stability. Soil at lower depths in some cases exhibited higher water stability than the surface soils (Table 2). During wet sieving most of the larger aggregates slaked and distributed to the lower aggregate size ranges. Joshua and Rahman (1983) and Rabbi et al. (2006) reported that soils of Gangetic alluvium were structurally unstable. Soil reaction (pH) The pH of studied soils varied from 8.46-8.87. The highest pH was obtained at 015 cm depth in soils developed on Char Wadel and the lowest was at depth of 1530 cm on Char Miazan (Table 1). In most of the soil profile, a trend of slightly increasing pH with soil depth was observed. This is a common feature of the seasonally flooded soils in Bangladesh (Brammer, 1971). Electrical conductivity (EC) The EC of studied soils varied from 0.45-4.12 dS m-1. The highest EC was obtained at 15-30 cm depth in soils developed on Char Miazan and the lowest was at various depth of studied soils (Table1). Salinity values in some coastal plain soils of Bangladesh vary seasonally, peak salinities appear to be reached during April-June and fall to a minimum around October before gradually raising again (Hassan, 1984; Hossain and McConchie, 1994). According to SRDI (2003), the salinity of studied area is very slightly saline to slightly saline soil. The studied soils is non saline because of flowing heavy fresh water from up stream. Soil organic matter (SOM) The organic matter content of collected soil samples was found to vary from 0.89-3.16% with an average of 2.8% (Table 1) which indicated the lower amount of organic matter. The higher percentages of organic matter content were observed in Char Barret at 0-15 cm depth. Bhuiyan (1988) analyzed some Bangladesh soils and found that the organic matter percent of different soil series of Bangladesh ranged from 0.86-4.47, mean value being 1.89%, which are 6

quite similar to our findings. Irrigation and drainage decreases the SOM content of soil (Umeda and Yamada, 1980). SOM increases aggregate stability of soil by lowering the wet ability and cohesion of the aggregates (Chenu et al., 2000). The clay particles can bind the coarser soil constituents and organic matter (Hayes 1991). Mokhtaruddin and Norhayati (1995) hypothesized that certain amounts of very fine sand and silt particles are needed with clay to form and to stabilize aggregates. Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that SOM, silt and clay percentage affect the water stability of aggregates. SOM may be responsible for slaking resistance of larger aggregates (Six et al., 2000b). In small aggregates, lower porosity and higher bulk density may confer the resistance against slaking (Oades and Waters 1991). Thus the cementing effect of SOM is very important for stability of large aggregates.

Table 1. Different physical and chemical properties of studied soil

Sampling Location Char Wadel

Depth (cm) 0-15 15-30 >30 0-15 15-30 >30 0-15 15-30 >30 0-15 15-30 >30 0-15 15-30 0-15 15-30 >30 0-15 15-30 >30

SOM % 3.16 2.54 2.20 2.39 1.38 2.48 2.13 2.34 2.40 2.40 2.48 1.72 2.06 0.89 2.27 1.38 1.51 1.99 2.27 2.61

%Sand 13 18 17 16 13 8 9 11 16 14 11 17 24 14 24 12 13 12 8 14

%Silt 77 72 73 74 77 74 77 77 69 69 79 73 66 73 65 73 77 78 77 76

%Clay 10 10 10 10 10 18 14 12 15 17 10 10 10 13 11 15 10 10 15 10

Textural Class

Dp g cm-3 2.47 2.27 2.33 2.56 2.63 2.62 2.53 2.55 2.53 2.44 2.46 2.54 2.54 2.57 2.37 2.41 2.48 2.63 2.44 2.46

Db g cm-3 1.51 1.44 1.34 1.47 1.31 1.47 1.33 1.55 1.66 1.58 1.65 1.42 1.29 1.65 1.65 1.55 1.30 1.51 1.61 1.44

%P 38.87 36.56 42.49 42.58 50.57 47.87 50.19 39.22 34.38 35.25 32.93 44.09 49.21 35.79 30.38 35.68 56.04 42.59 34.02 41.46

Ks cm day-1 17.28 22.80 21.60 19.44 17.76 12.0 12.24 11.28 17.28 11.76 14.64 15.60 18.96 17.28 10.08 26.16 13.92 11.40 26.16 9.84

SA 3.0 4.5 4.0 6.0 2.0 5.0 6.0 2.0 0.0 4.0 7.0 0.0 0.0 2.0 0.0 8.0 1.0 6.0 4.5 3.0

DA 3.45 5.49 4.82 7.14 2.30 5.43 6.59 2.25 0.00 4.65 7.87 0.00 0.00 2.73 0.00 9.09 1.15 6.82 4.89 3.49

pH 8.87 8.56 8.49 8.70 8.66 8.78 8.75 8.59 8.84 8.79 8.46 8.61 8.49 8.69 8.66 8.66 8.77 8.79 8.77 8.84

EC (dSm-1) 0.78 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.78 0.45 0.45 0.45 4.12 1.78 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.78 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.78

Char Barret Char Ray Shaheb

Silt Loam

Char Miazan

Char Kachua Char Diara Kachua(1) Char Diara Kachua(2)

[SOM=Soil Organic Matter (%), Dp = Particle density (g cm-3); Db = Bulk density (g cm-3); %P = % Porosity; Ks = Saturated hydraulic conductivity (cm day-1); EC = Electrical conductivity; SA = State of aggregation; DA =Degree of aggregation]

Table 2. Mean weight diameter and the percentage of water stable aggregate of studied soils.
Sampling Location Depth (cm) 0-15 Char Wadel 15-30 >30 Mean 0-15 Char Barret 15-30 >30 Mean 0-15 Char Ray Shaheb 15-30 >30 Mean 0-15 Char Miazan 15-30 >30 Mean 0-15 Char Kachua 15-30 Mean 0-15 Char Diara Kachua(1) 15-30 >30 Mean 0-15 15-30 >30 Mean %WSA MWD (mm) 0.07 0.24 0.23 0.18 0.15 0.10 0.20 0.15 0.04 0.12 0.11 0.09 0.02 0.24 0.29 0.18 0.09 0.02 0.06 0.39 0.20 0.07 0.22 0.03 0.10 0.09 0.07 >2 mm 0.26 3.29 3.00 2.18 2.00 0.30 3.20 1.83 0.00 0.70 0.70 0.47 0.00 2.98 4.50 2.49 0.36 0.00 0.18 5.15 1.61 0.39 2.38 0.12 0.82 0.97 0.64 >1 mm 1.78 3.19 3.40 2.79 1.80 3.84 1.20 2.28 0.70 1.90 3.10 1.90 0.70 2.98 2.40 2.03 1.65 0.59 1.12 3.15 4.35 1.63 3.04 0.85 1.17 2.08 1.37

CharDiara Kachua(2)

Table 3. Correlation between MWD and other soil physical properties


Dp Db %f Ks MWD -0.231 0.470 Dp Db %f Ks Sand Silt

-0.071 -0.076 0.827 0.814 -0.154 0.874 -0.542 0.632 0.000 0.069 0.409 -0.622 -0.290 -0.359 0.187 0.031 0.360 0.252

Sand 0.357 -0.672 -0.047 -0.503 0.778 0.255 0.017 0.885 0.095 0.003 Silt Clay 0.028 0.436 -0.218 0.480 -0.197 -0.571 0.932 0.156 0.495 0.114 0.539 0.052 -0.419 0.267 0.285 0.035 -0.638 -0.480 -0.446 0.175 0.402 0.370 0.913 0.026 0.115 0.146

Cell contents: Pearson correlation P- Value The MWD of soils had positive correlation (Table 3) with percent sand and silt of soil. Rabbi et al. (2004) reported that MWD was directly influenced by percentage of silt, clay and soil organic matter. Soils with high clay and low silt percentage had higher MWD. REFERENCES Ahsan, M.M. and Rabbi, S.M.F. 2006. Studies on physical properties of saline soils with special reference to management practice. Soil Resource Development Institute, Dhaka. Amezketa, E., Singer, M.J. and Le Bissonnais, Y. 1996. Testing a New Procedure for Measuring Water-Stable Aggregation. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 60: 888-894.

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