Efficiency of soil and water conservation practices in different agro-ecological environments in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
- 32 Downloads
In developing countries such as Ethiopia, research to develop and promote soil and water conservation practices rarely addressed regional diversity. Using a water-balance approach in this study, we used runoff plots from three sites, each representing a different agro-ecological environment, e.g., high, mid and low in both elevation and rainfall, in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia to examine the runoff response and runoff conservation efficiency of a range of different soil and water conservation measures and their impacts on soil moisture. The plots at each site represented common land use types (cultivated vs. non-agricultural land use types) and slopes (gentle and steep). Seasonal runoff from control plots in the highlands ranged 214–560 versus 253–475 mm at midlands and 119–200 mm at lowlands. The three soil and water conservation techniques applied in cultivated land increased runoff conservation efficiency by 32% to 51%, depending on the site. At the moist subtropical site in a highland region, soil and water conservation increased soil moisture enough to potentially cause waterlogging, which was absent at the lowrainfall sites. Soil bunds combined with Vetiveria zizanioides grass in cultivated land and short trenches in grassland conserved the most runoff (51% and 55%, respectively). Runoff responses showed high spatial variation within and between land use types, causing high variation in soil and water conservation efficiency. Our results highlight the need to understand the role of the agro-ecological environment in the success of soil and water conservation measures to control runoff and hydrological dynamics. This understanding will support policy development to promote the adoption of suitable techniques that can be tested at other locations with similar soil, climatic, and topographic conditions.
Keywordsagro-ecology drought-prone runoff coefficient runoff conservation efficiency Ethiopia
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
This research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (25257417) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.
- Adimassu Z, Haile N. 2011. Runoff, soil loss and their relationships under different land uses in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Applied Sciences & Technology, 2(1): 39–49.Google Scholar
- Allen R G, Pereira L S, Raes D, et al. 1998. Crop Evapotranspiration-Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements-FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 56. Rome: FAO, 1–15.Google Scholar
- Bekele-Tesemma A, Sjohom H, Bekalo I, et al. 2005. Managing Land: A Practical Guidebook for Development Agents in Ethiopia. Nairobi: Regional Land Management Unit, World Agroforestry Centre, Eastern and Central Africa Regional Programme, Addis Ababa: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 282.Google Scholar
- Dingman S L. 2015. Physical Hydrology (3rd ed.). USA: Waveland Press, 17–39.Google Scholar
- Ebabu K. 2016. Effects of land management practices on soil and nutrient losses: A case study in paired watersheds of Guder, in the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. MSc Thesis. Tottori, Japan: Tottori University, 108.Google Scholar
- Hurni H, Zeleke G, Kassie M, et al. 2015. Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Ethiopia case study. Soil degradation and sustainable land management in the Rainfed agricultural areas of Ethiopia: An assessment of the economic implications. In: Report for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative. Bonn, Deutschland: Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC); Centre for Development and Environment (CDE); Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), 99.Google Scholar
- Hurni H, Berhe W A, Chadhokar P, et al. 2016. Soil and Water Conservation in Ethiopia: Guidelines for Development Agents. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Bern Open Publishing (BOP), 1–50.Google Scholar
- Kassie M, Zikhali P, Pender J, et al. 2009. Sustainable agricultural practices and agricultural productivity in Ethiopia: does agroecology matter? In: Working Papers in Economics No. 406. Göteborg: University of Gothenburg.Google Scholar
- Lampkin N H, Pearce B D, Leake A R, et al. 2015. The role of agroecology in sustainable intensification. In: Report for the Land Use Policy Group. Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm and Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Scottish.Google Scholar
- Melesse A M, Abtew W. 2016. Landscape Dynamics, Soils and Hydrological Processes in Varied Climates. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 1–93.Google Scholar
- Morgan R P C, Finney H J, Lavee H, et al. 1986. Plant cover effects on hillslope runoff and erosion: evidence from two laboratory experiments. In: Abrahams A D. Hillslope Processes. Winchester, Mass: Allen and Urwin, 16: 77–90.Google Scholar
- Pathak P, Mishra P K, Rao K V, et al. 2009. Best-bet options on soil and water conservation. In: Best-bet Options for Integrated Watershed Management Proceedings of the Comprehensive Assessment of Watershed Programs in India, 25–27 July 2007. Andhra Pradesh, India: ICRISAT Patancheru, 75–94.Google Scholar
- Schmidt E, Zemadim B. 2013. Hydrological modelling of sustainable land management interventions in the Mizewa watershed of the Blue Nile basin. In: Rainwater Management for Resilient Livelihoods in Ethiopia: Proceedings of the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science Meeting, Addis Ababa, 9–10 July 2013. NBDC Technical Report 5. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI, 30.Google Scholar
- Sheldrick B, Wang C. 1993. Particle size distribution. In: Carter M R. Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. Boca Raton, Florida, USA: Canadian Society of Soil Science, Lewis Publishers, 499–513.Google Scholar
- Tadesse M, Belay K. 2004. Factors influencing adoption of soil conservation measures in Southern Ethiopia: the case of Gununo area. Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics, 105(1): 49–62.Google Scholar
- Taye G, Poesen J, Van Wesemael B, et al. 2013. Effects of land use, slope gradient, and soil and water conservation structures on runoff and soil loss in semi-arid Northern Ethiopia. Physical Geography, 34(3): 236–259.Google Scholar
- Tebebu T Y, Steenhuis T S, Dagnew D C, et al. 2015. Improving efficacy of landscape interventions in the (sub) humid Ethiopian highlands by improved understanding of runoff processes. Frontiers in Earth Science, 3: 49.Google Scholar