Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 35–48 | Cite as

Farmers’ local knowledge and topsoil properties of agroforestry practices in Sidama, Southern Ethiopia

  • Zebene AsfawEmail author
  • Göran I. Ågren


Based on farmers’ knowledge and laboratory studies, the nutrient accumulation in the topsoil (0–20 cm) under Cordia africana Lam (Cordia), Millettia ferruginea Hochst (Millettia) and Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnhardt (Red gum) managed under two agroforestry practices on different farms at three sites was evaluated. The number of these trees on individual farms has increased during the last two decades. The number of stems ha−1 of Red gum was higher on farms of wealthier households than on farms of poor and medium households at two of the sites, but, at one site the number of stems ha−1 on farms of poor households was higher than on farms of wealthier households. Apart from the concentration of Na in the topsoil, there were significant variations in the analysed soil nutrients between the tree species. At all study sites, significantly higher concentration of P was observed under Millettia and Cordia than under Red gum. At one site, concentrations of available P under Cordia were nearly two-fold, and four and half-fold greater than under Millettia and Red gum, respectively. At one site, total N under Red gum was 14% and 24% lower than under Cordia and Millettia, respectively. In contrast, organic C content under Red gum was 11.6% greater than under Millettia and 23.8% greater than under Cordia. The pH under Millettia and Cordia were significantly higher than concentrations under Red gum at one site. Topsoil under Millettia and Cordia also had significantly higher levels of exchangeable Ca and Mg than Red gum.


Cordiaafricana Eucalyptus camaldulensis Farmers’ knowledge Enset fields Households Millettia ferruginea Traditional agroforestry 



The authors are grateful to financial and material support provided by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sweden and Wondo Genet College of Forestry, Ethiopia and the Ethiopian National Soil Laboratory Service in Addis Ababa, for its assistance in soil laboratory analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wondo Genet College of ForestryShashameneEthiopia
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Environmental ResearchSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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