Thirty-eight termite mounds (about 1.6 m high and 7.6 m basal diameter) and the same number of adjacent soils were sampled in three rainfall zones: low (below 700 mm annual rainfall), medium (700 to 1000 mm annual rainfall), and high (above 1000 mm annual rainfall). Higher amounts of clay, silt, and fine sand, and lower amounts of coarse sand occurred in termite mounds than in adjacent soils of all rainfall zones. Extractable cations (Ca, Mg, and K), calcium carbonate, pH, electrical conductivity, and organic carbon were also higher in termite mounds than adjacent soils of all rainfall zones.
Wide differences in extractable calcium between termite mounds and adjacent soils of low and medium rainfall zones indicated weak leaching of termite mounds; narrow differences in the high rainfall zone indicated strong leaching of the mounds.
The ‘umbrella effect’ of termite mounds in shedding rainfall and retarding leaching is clearly displayed in the medium rainfall zone where high concentrations of extractable calcium in termite mounds and low concentrations in adjacent soils indicate weak and strong leaching respectively.