Assessment of integrated soil and water conservation measures on key soil properties in South Gonder, North-Western Highlands of Ethiopia


Mulugeta Demelash and Karl Stahr

Land degradation caused by erosion was an environmental threat that hampered agricultural production and the causes include: over cultivation, overgrazing, overpopulation and deforestation. Loss of productive land undermined rural livelihoods and national food security. The major factors discouraged farmers adoption of soil conservation measures were labour shortage, land tenure uncertainty, fitness of structures and the farming system. The study assessed effect of soil and water conservation measures on key soil properties in two micro-watersheds of Farta Wereda of South Gonder. Data analyzed using different soft wares. The results revealed that soil chemical and physical properties: soil organic matter, total N, available phosphorous (P), bulk density, infiltration rate and soil texture found a significant difference between conserved and non-conserved. Soil pH and electrical conductivity (EC) did not show significant difference. The non-conserved had the lowest soil organic matter, total N and infiltration rate with highest bulk density, clay content and available P. Soil organic matter content positively correlated with infiltration rate and total N and it negatively correlated with soil bulk density. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) positively correlated with soil pH and available P. The undulating lands were moderately suitable for rain fed agriculture. Hilly and valley lands found suitable for protective forestry and livestock production. Further research shall be conducted for a better understanding for sustainable land use.

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