Effects of intgrated soil and water conservation on selected soil physico-chemical properties of lonke watershed, Sodo Zuria Woreda, Southern Ethiopia
Background: Land degradation and nutrient depletion have been the major challenges in Ethiopia that directly affect soil fertility and crop productivity. With the aim of curbing land degradation problems, efforts are underway on the implementation of soil and water conservation (SWC) practices, but the performance of Soil and water conservation measures such as ISWC (Bench terrace with fodder species, grass species and deep trench) and physical SWC alone had been implemented to tackle soil erosion in the study area has not been well studied. Therefore, this research was conducted in Lonke Micro-watershed, Sodo Zuria Woreda,Wolaita Zone Southern Ethiopia to evaluate the effect of integrated soil and water conservation practice on soil physic-chemical properties and farmer’s perception towards implementing ISWC practice.
Materials and Methods: The soil sampling was taken, 27 disturbed composite soil samples and 27 undisturbed soil samples were collected from sites treated with ISWC measures, SWC structures alone and non Soil and water conservation measures (NSWC) with the slope gradient 3-8%, 9-15% and 16-34 percent classification from each treatment site. A total of 81 Household heads were interviewed through close ended questionnaires to explore the farmer’s perception on integrated soil and water conservation practices in Lonke watershed.
Results: The results of the experimental study showed that soil organic carbons (SOC), total nitrogen (N), soil pH and Bulk density (BD) were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) affected by the integrated soil conservation measures but the effect of Av-P is highly significant(p<0.05) but the physical soil and water conservation slightly affect above soil physicochemical properties. Sand, silt and clay soil texture significantly varied the site with integrated soil and water conservation measures, physical soil water conservation practice and non-conserved sites. 90.1% of respondents have positive opinion on its role in improving soil fertility based on their own indicators.
Conclusion: Farmers had a positive attitude towards the ISWC practice as they improve the soil physicochemical properties. Soil properties were in good conditions in the integrally conserved areas with higher SOC, total nitrogen (TN) and lower BD which are indicators of a fertile soil compared with the physical SWC alone and non-conserved plots. Biological supported conservation (Sesbania sesban and pigeon pea) were found to be effective in improving soil Physico-chemical properties in the study area.