Journal of
Soil Science and Environmental Management

  • Abbreviation: J. Soil Sci. Environ. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2391
  • DOI: 10.5897/JSSEM
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 311

Full Length Research Paper

Balanites aegyptiaca, a potential tree for parkland agroforestry systems with sorghum in Northern Ethiopia

Hailemariam Kassa1, Kindeya Gebrehiwet2 and Charles Yamoah3*
1Tigray Agricultural Research Institute, Humera Agricultural Research Centre, Humera, P. O. Box 230 Tigray, Ethiopia. 2Department of Land Resource Management and Environmental Protection, Faculty of Dryland Agriculture, Mekelle University, P. O. Box 231, Ethiopia. 3Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Development Studies, P. O. Box TL 1350 Tamale, Ghana.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 01 July 2010
  •  Published: 31 August 2010


Balanites aegyptiaca tree is preferred by farmers in Tigray Region of Ethiopia for fuel wood, provision of shade, fodder and as a medicinal plant. This study was conducted to assesssoil properties and sorghum yields on farm fields (Limat, Goblel and Korbebite and Endakeshe), where B. aegyptiaca are traditionally retained. At each site, six trees were randomly selected and soil properties and sorghum yields were compared 1) under the tree canopy (0 – 4 m), designated as zone D1; 2) near the tree, (4 – 6 m, D2) and 3) far away from the tree (8 – 12 m, D3). At the Limat site, results indicated that % clay and available P were significantly higher (p < 0.05) at D1 (under the canopy) than D3 (further away from the canopy). Also at the same site, % silt was significantly lower (p < 0.05) at D1 than D3. At Goblel and Korbebite sites, pH was significantly lower (p < 0.05) at D1 and D2 than D3. Apart from these, exchangeable Ca, exchangeable K, organic carbon (OC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), electrical conductivity (EC) and yields were non-significant among the three zones at the sites. Mean moisture levels of all sites at sowing period at D1 (14.36%) was significantly (p < 0.05) lower than D3 (16.32%), but yields were unaffected. Pot studies using soils from the above sites and zones demonstrated similar soil and yields’ patterns. Thus, it may be appropriate to integrate sorghum crops with B. aegyptiaca trees on the same field in a parkland agroforestry system with minimal risk of crop failure.


Key words: Balanites aegyptiaca, parkland agroforestrysorghum.