Abstract: The study examined the effects of vegetation on soil properties by comparing soil physical and chemical properties in an undisturbed secondary forest with those adjoining selected tourism facilities. The result obtained showed that the proportions of Organic Carbon (OC), Total Nitrogen (TN) and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) were significantly higher in undisturbed secondary forest soils than soils adjoining tourism facilities. The low nutrient status of soils adjoining tourism facilities was attributed to two factors: the sparse density of trees as well as low availability of plant residue (litter) which affected the buildup of top soil nutrient through the decay of biomass, accelerated soil erosion due to the absence of dense vegetation cover to protect the soil from direct rainstorm as well as suppress the movement of surface runoff. In order to improve soil structure for tourism and ecological sustainability, simple ecological land management principle of planting more perennial tree species along with grasses to control soil erosion by enhancing infiltration, other than stone pitching and concretizing the area was suggested. Stone pitching is cost-intensive and hinders ecological succession as well as increases the amount of surface runoff with degrading effects on adjoining facilities. It is therefore, considered ecologically unwise to completely eliminate trees during landscaping in the area as they help to improve soil structure.
A.I. Iwara, F.O. Ogundele, U.W. Ibor, V.M. Arrey and O.E. Okongor, 2011. Effect of Vegetation Adjoining Tourism Facilities on Soil Properties in the Tourism Enclave of Cross River State. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 6: 276-281.