The Effect of Land Use Systems on Soil Properties; A case study from Rwanda

Theobald Bizuhoraho, Alexis Kayiranga, Noel Manirakiza, khaldoon A. Mourad


Land use change has a significant impact on the ecosystem. In this paper the effects of land use change on the physicochemical properties of the soil in Rulindo District, Rwanda have been studied. Three different land use types were selected; forestland, cattle farmland and cultivated land. A randomised complete block research design was used to carry out this research. Nine soil samples were collected and then analysed. The distributed samples were analysed in the Soil Laboratory of University of Rwanda-Busogo campus, while the undisturbed samples were analysed in-situ. Eight physicochemical properties were measured: pH, Organic Matter (OM), available nitrogen, available phosphorus, exchangeable potassium, soil bulk density, moisture content and porosity. The results showed that changing land use from forest or farm to cultivated land reduced the organic matter, available nitrogen, soil moisture and porosity while bulk density and pH were significantly increasing. On the other hand, the exchangeable potassium and exchangeable phosphorus did not change significantly for the both land use changes. Hence, the reduction of forestland and farmland are highly sensible to erosion and will decline soil fertility. The paper proposed few steps and recommendations to be the base for a new sustainable land use management in Rwanda.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Theobald Bizuhoraho, Alexis Kayiranga, Noel Manirakiza, khaldoon A. Mourad

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Sustainable Agriculture Research   ISSN 1927-050X (Print)   ISSN 1927-0518 (Online)  E-mail:

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