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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Soil quality evaluation in the different land use types in Kersa sub-watershed eastern Harerghe, Ethiopia

Yared Mulat Tefera1, Kibebew Kibret Tehaye2

1Hawassa University, Natural Resource Management, Ethiopia
2Haremaya University, Natural Resource Management


Soil quality is the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation. Soils in agricultural production are vital parts of the ecological system which produce food and fiber for human utilisation. Soil quality, which can be inferred using indicators that interact synergistically, is affected by land-use types and agricultural management practices. This study assessed the status of soil quality under three adjacent land uses (cultivated, grazing, and fallow) in Kersa subwatershed (622 ha). Soil samples were collected from the surface soil (0-20 cm depth) of the identified land uses with three replications and the soil quality parameters were analyzed. A minimum data set of soil quality indicators were selected from physical, chemical, and biological parameters using the literature review and expert opinion method. Linear scoring functions were used to give the unitless score for the selected data sets, which were then integrated into a soil quality index (SQI). The results revealed that bulk density, aggregate stability, pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), available P, and soil organic carbon (SOC) had a significant difference in SQI among the different land uses. The soil quality indices were 0.69 for grazing land, 0.62 for cultivated land, and 0.59 for fallow land. The SQI of all the land uses falls in the intermediate soil quality (0.55 < SQI < 0.70) class. In almost all the quality indicators assessed, the grazing land was superior to the cultivated and fallow lands. Therefore, implementing management practices that enhance soil quality is imperative for sustainable agricultural production in the study area.

Keywords: Land use, linear scoring, minimum data set, soil quality, soil quality index

Contact Address: Yared Mulat Tefera, Hawassa University, Natural Resource Management, Hawassa, Hawassa, Ethiopia, e-mail: yaredmula@yahoo.com

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