Item Details

Title: Comparing Uganda's indigenous soil classification system with World Reference Base and USDA Soil Taxonomy to predict soil productivity

Date Published: 2020
Author/s: Stewart Kyebogola, C. Lee Burras, Bradley A. Miller, Onesimus Semalulu, Russell S. Yost
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Affiliation: University of Hawai'i at Manoa , Makerere University, Iowa State University, National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), Kampala, Uganda
Keywords: Indigenous soils knowledge, Soil classification, Catena, Mollisols, Oxisols, Ferralsols


This study examines three soil classification systems - Buganda, World Reference Base, and US Soil
Taxonomy - in order to evaluate their relative strengths and feasibility for making linkages between them.
Nine field sites and 16 pedons were considered across the soil landscapes of the Buganda catena. Each
identified field pedon diagnostic horizons and characteristics were described and their soils analyzed
using standard pedological techniques and measurements. To document the indigenous use of the
Buganda classification system, interviews and discussions were held with farmer groups and local
extension specialists. Using this local expertise, five local soil units were identified. We also identified two
landscape toposequences with pedons that classified into six WRB Reference Soil Groups and five US Soil
Taxonomic Suborders. While four local soil classes each mismatched with international systems' groups,
Liddugavu (black) soil corresponded to Phaeozem (WRB) and Udolls (US Soil Taxonomy) and is
consistently viewed as the most productive soil due to faster weed growth, diversity of crops it supports
and its stable landscape location. Statistical comparisons indicated that the Buganda classes were more
homogeneous and effective at separating variability of different soil properties than those of either the
WRB Reference Soil Groups or US Soil Taxonomy Suborders.