AMBIO

, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 932–942 | Cite as

Long-Term Indigenous Soil Conservation Technology in the Chencha Area, Southern Ethiopia: Origin, Characteristics, and Sustainability

Report

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the origin, development, and characteristics of terraces (kella), plus their potentials and determinants for sustainable use in the Chencha–Dorze Belle area of southern Ethiopia. Field surveys were conducted to determine the various parameters of the indigenous terraces and in order to collect samples for radiocarbon dating. To identify farmers’ views of the terrace systems, semi-structured interviews and group discussions were also carried out. Terraces were built and used—as radiocarbon dating proves—at least over the last 800 years. The long-term continued usage of the indigenous terraces is the result of social commitments, the structural features of the terraces, and the farmers’ responses to the dynamics of social and cultural circumstances. We dubbed that the terraces are a success story of fruitful environmental management over generations. Thus, a strong need is to preserve and develop this important cultural heritage and example of sustainable land use.

Keywords

Indigenous terrace Soil and water conservation Sustainable land use Traditional knowledge Chencha Ethiopia 

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Environment and Development, College of Development StudiesAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  2. 2.Institute for Ecosystem ResearchKiel UniversityKielGermany
  3. 3.Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’Kiel UniversityKielGermany

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