Rubber and plantain intercropping: Effects of different planting densities on soil characteristics.
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Two field experiments were conducted at Ellembelle and Jomoro districts in the Western region of Ghana where rubber cultivation is a predominant farming activity. The objective of the study was to assess the effect of rubber and plantain intercropping systems on selected soil properties. The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with 3 replications. The treatments were the sole crop rubber (R), sole crop plantain (P) and three intercrop systems comprising an additive series of plantain: one row of plantain to one row of rubber (PR), two rows of plantain to one row of rubber (PPR) and three rows of plantain to one row of rubber (PPPR). Generally, agroforestry systems improved the soil hydraulic properties considerably, with the highest cumulative infiltration rates of 5.16 and 8.68 cm/min observed under the PPPR systems at the Ellembelle and Jomoro sites, respectively. Microbial biomass C (C-mic), N (N-mic) and P (P-mic) was significantly improved (P < 0.05) under the agroforestry than the monocrop systems. The C-mic, N-mic and P-mic values were highest under the PPPR system at both Ellembelle (C-mic, = 139.9 mg/kg; N-mic = 36.26 mg/kg and P-mic = 87.6 mg/kg) and Jomoro (C-mic = 78.7 mg/kg; N-mic = 80.3 mg/kg and P-mic = 3.45 mg/kg) sites.
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