Farmers’ Perception on Soil Erosion and Their Use of Structural Soil Conservation Measures in Soro District, Southern Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study was to evaluate the farmers’ perception on soil erosion and their use of structural soil conservation measures. The data for this study was collected via interviewees, key informants and field observations. Farmers perceived indicators of the existence of erosion and soil fertility loss differently. For many farmers, gully development and stoniness of soil were main indicators to soil erosion on their land. Others recognize by observing soil color. They also perceived well the causes of soil erosion in their lands as slope steepness of cultivation fields, ceaseless cultivation and absence of fallowing with many time preparations of soil for cropping; still other causes have great roles. Severity of soil erosion in the study area explained as severe, moderate, minor soil erosion and a few cultivation fields had no erosion risk. Consequently, farmers well understood the results of severe soil erosion on their farms and recognized as loss of topsoil, reduction of yield over time, loss of vegetation cover and grasses, change in soil color, requiring high input and management, formation of uncross-able gullies, lack of farm land and grazing field, and out migration. Structural soil conservation measures practiced in the study area included cutoff drains, soil bunds, fanya juu, waterways, check dams, and trench digging. Yet farmers have been using biological and agronomic soil conservation measures either separately or in combination with structural soil conservation measures. Practices of structural soil conservation measures have been influenced by many factors. Aged farmers have practiced structural soil conservation less likely than young farmers. Female farmers also showed high interest towards structural soil conservation, yet they invested little and rarely practiced. On the contrary, educated farmers, household sizes, farmers involved in off farm jobs, perceiving soil erosion well, having contact with DA and training provide a fertile ground for increased practice of structural soil conservation measures. Soil conservation efforts need hand- in- hand cooperation with concerned experts while planning and implementation. To effectively plan for soil conservation measures application and introduce new techniques to manage resources in the right way, it is necessary to involve local farmers and have knowledge of local concepts such as that of soil classification, soil quality, soil fertility and soil erosion



Geography and Environmental Studies