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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Properties and Geomorphic Relationships of Some Soils of Liberia1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 43 No. 6, p. 1192-1198
    Received: Aug 21, 1978
    Accepted: July 10, 1979

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  1. Luther Geiger and
  2. W. D. Nettleton2



Liberia is on the west coast of Africa near the Equator. It is in a tropical rain forest in an area of shifting cultivation. The five soils studied are on rolling uplands, stream terraces, and swampy bottomlands. Their properties reflect their geomorphic ages.

Plinthic Paleudults of the clayey-skeletal family are on the highest uplands. Compared to the other Paleudults, they are more clayey, and have higher amounts of extractable iron, and contain high amounts of ironstone concretions (hardened plinthite). The argillic horizons have 0.3 meq of Ca2+ and Mg2+ or less per 100 g of soil. Because of the gravel, these soils are best suited to rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) or cashews (Anacardium occidentale L.).

The loamy family of Plinthic Paleudults and the clayey family of Typic Paleudults occupy lower erosional uplands. They are similar to the higher, clayey-skeletal Paleudults but are slightly higher in bases in the lower horizons. Both are well suited to production of oil palm (Elaeis guineesis Jacq.), coffee (Coffea spp.), rubber, and cashews.

The Typic Tropopsamments and Aquoxic Dystropepts of the clayey family occupy low stream terraces. Both soils have more weatherable minerals and a more favorable base status than the Paleudults. The Dystropepts are best suited to oil palm production. The Tropopsamments are well suited to cacao (Theobroma cacao L. subsp. cacao) coffee, oil palm, and rubber.

The Paleudults studied have the chemical properties of the Oxisols. They have a much lower CEC (cation exchange capacity) per unit of clay, and lower base saturation than apparently is intended for Ultisols. We propose that a new subgroup, Aquoxic Paleudults, be provided for these soils.

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