Gebreyesus Brhane Tesfahunegn, Paul L. G. Vlek, Lulseged Tamene Desta:
Participatory Soil Quality Indicators Survey: Experience of Indigenous Community in Mai-Negus Catchment, Northern Ethiopia


University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany

Degradation in soil quality (SQ) is often associated with the type of land use, soil management and local knowledge involved in agricultural production, besides to the other soil forming and erosion influencing factors. Local SQ knowledge is complex, multifaceted, and often quite subtle in its expression as it involves much experiential trial and error, but also includes scientific processes. Despite of this fact, little or nil information is documented on the issue of participatory SQ indicator diagnosis from the experience of local community view to Ethiopia condition. This poster is therefore reports the experience of local community in diagnosis of SQ indicators using participatory approach in the year 2009 at Mai-Negus catchment, northern Ethiopia. Transect-walk field observation was used to acquire SQ indictor data during the survey. This was supported by presented to the household heads to discuss, review and reach in consensus in the points collected during the walk. Indicators of SQ in the form of crop yield, soil depth, erosion and sedimentation processes were easy to identify by the farmers during the transect"=walk and these are the commonly used once as farmers reached in consensus. The process of achieving a community consensus on ranking SQ indicator in the form of erosion, soil depth and colour raised a lot of arguments among farmers in the meeting, sometimes requiring that some dissatisfied farmers visit the actual eroding sites where they can verify the differences in indicator severity. Participatory diagnosis of SQ indicators promoted cooperation between local and external participants and formed the basis for an agreed land management planning, implementation and evaluation that can be part of the approaches for sustainable management of soil resources.

Keywords: Local community, Mai-Negus catchment, North Ethiopia, participatory, SQ indicators


Contact Address: Gebreyesus Brhane Tesfahunegn, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Ecology and Natural Resources ManagementWalter-Flex-Str. 3, ZEF, 53113 Bonn, Germany, e-mail:
Andreas Deininger, October 2010