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Environ Monit Assess. 2004 Dec;99(1-3):181-96.

Impact of sand dune stabilization structures on soil and yield of millet in the semi-arid region of NW Nigeria.

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Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture/Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.


The low-rainfall ecologies of the northern fringes of Nigeria are prone to desertification and sand dune activities that are phenomenal and extensive. Stabilization structures put in place by various governmental and non-governmental agencies to check desertification in northwestern Nigeria were evaluated with respect to efficiency, impact on soil development and yield of millet. The study focused on the active and stabilized sand dune formations in NW Nigeria. Various stabilization techniques were identified within Gidan Kaura (the study site) and results were compared with an unstabilized sand dune (control site). Results obtained indicated that the sand dunes within the study area are still active despite the numerous stabilization structures, some of which were established over 15 years ago. Shelterbelts were the most effective techniques in sand dune stabilization and soil development when properly sited across wind direction. Shelterbelts recorded significantly higher levels of pH, organic carbon, total nitrogen, exchangeable bases and micronutrients except for copper, when compared with all other treatments. The least effective of all the structures was mechanical fencing, probably due to the inadequate quantity of plant residues used in its construction. The impact of the various structures on the physical and chemical soil properties was evaluated for surface soils as were the structures on the yield of millet in stabilized dunes and non-dune areas. The results are discussed in depth in this paper.

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