This study was carried out to examine the effects of slash and burn on the diversity and abundance of soil microorganisms. Composite soil samples were collected from the study area before burning and two weeks after burning progressively for a period of three (3) months. The bacteria and fungi in the soil samples were isolated and identified. In addition, the pH, soil temperature and soil moisture content of the samples were determined. The results show that the diversity and abundance of the soil microorganisms decreased significantly (p ≤ 0.05) within the fourteen and twenty-eight days after burning. However, a significant increase in the abundance and diversity of the microorganism was recorded as from the forty-two days after burning. The soil pH was also observed to increase significantly between the fourteen and twenty eight days after burning. The results further revealed that there was significant (p ≥ 0.05) increase in bacteria and fungi abundance after burning. The relationship between soil pH and bacteria was significant, while there was no significant relationship between soil pH and fungi. The relationship between temperature, fungi and bacteria were not significant (R2 ≤ 50%). Total microorganism abundance and diversity significantly increased following burning during the current study.
Key words: Bacteria, fungi, mineralization, yield, species, soil.
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