Accelerated soil erosion remains the major challenge that is adversely affecting the agricultural performance in Ethiopia. Efforts towards soil and water conservation (SWC) goal were started since the mid-1970s and 80s to alleviate soil erosion and low crop productivity. However, the effectiveness of SWC practices on improving soil properties remains less studied. Soil physical analysis (%sand, silt and clay) and chemical analysis (pH, exchangeable potassium (K+), available phosphorous (P), total nitrogen (TN), soil organic carbon (SOC) and cation exchange capacity (CEC)) were analyzed. A total of 36 soil samples from two sub watersheds (SWs) with SWC and without SWC practices (Elmo without, Elmo with, Hobene without and Hobene with) from three landscapes with three landscape positions (upper slope, middle slope, and bottom) were studied. The results showed that soil pH, K+, P, TN, SOC, %clay and CEC were significant (p≤0.05) for SWC practices. The sand and silt fractions were not significant (p< 0.05) for SWC practices. P, SOC, %silt and CEC were significantly different for landscape position. The study indicated the effectiveness of SWC practices in improving the soil properties. There should be a continuous awareness creation for technically efficient implementation and proper maintenance of SWC practices for optimum improvement of soil properties.
Key words: Soil erosion, soil and water conservation (SWC) practices, landscape position, sub watershed.
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