Environmental Management

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 380–394 | Cite as

Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Farmers’ Perceptions of Land Degradation and Stonewall Terraces in Central Palestine

  • Ahmad Abu HammadEmail author
  • Trond Børresen


Land degradation by soil erosion is a socioeconomic and environmental problem facing many developing countries. Application of stonewall terraces for soil moisture conservation is vital to reducing the environmental impacts of this phenomenon. To this end, a field plot experiment was conducted in the study area along with the use of a closed-ended questionnaire. The object of the experiment was to study the socioeconomic impacts of soil erosion on local farmers and their adoption of the stonewall terrace technique. The study showed a higher net profit in areas that had implemented terrace conservation practices than in areas that had not (i.e., 3.5 to 6 times higher net profit). Correlation analysis indicated that the farmers’ perceptions, land ownership, and geomorphology were significantly related to the farmers’ incentives and willingness to adopt terraces as soil conservation measures (P < 0.05), although the correlations were negative. Smallholder farmers (52% of the interviewed farmers) were involved in the sale of the agricultural land for urban uses, largely because of the high price and immediate returns offered. However, the associated land use changes warrant greater involvement of both the private and public sectors. This cooperation may be accomplished through the introduction of a long-term agricultural loan system and the development of proper legislation accompanied by a comprehensive and durable infrastructure and service system with the goal of reducing the negative impact of land use changes and encouraging sustainable use of resources.


Socioeconomy Soil conservation Land ownership Incentives Erosion Tenure size 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant and Environmental SciencesNorwegian University of Life SciencesNorway

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