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Assessing the soil erosion control efficiency of land management practices implemented through free community labor mobilization in Ethiopia

Kassawmar, Tibebu, Gessesse, Gizaw Desta, Zeleke, Gete, Subhatu, Alemtsehay
International soil and water conservation research 2018 v.6 no.2 pp. 87-98
conservation practices, cropland, erosion control, grasslands, labor, land management, landscapes, planning, remote sensing, shrublands, soil, soil erosion, temporal variation, water conservation, watersheds, Ethiopia
This study aimed to assess the influence of conservation practices (P) and cover management (C) on soil loss reduction by determining it at the scale of landscape units in 16 systematically selected watersheds. Focusing on major land management practices implemented through free community labor mobilization, the assessment combined remote sensing techniques, field observation, and expert as well as local knowledge. The results show an average net decrement of 39% (± 19%) in the P factor value and 8.9% (± 21%) in the C factor value after implementation of land management practices. P factor value reduction is linked to a high area coverage of level structures, while increases in the P factor value are associated with poor quality of structures, inappropriate practices, and wide spacing between structures on steep slopes. C factor value reduction is observed in non-arable shrub- and bushland with enriched area closure, whereas increased C factor values are associated with open access grasslands and untreated croplands. The overall change in P and C factor values resulted in a 42% (± 28%) relative soil loss reduction. The demonstrated approach makes it possible to assess spatial and temporal dynamics in the P and C erosion factors and to estimate spatially disaggregated changes in the P and C factor values. This can help to improve parameterization of inputs for erosion modelling and to assess their relative soil loss effect. The approach provides valuable feedback on watershed planning processes and supports informed decisions regarding the appropriate selection of land management practices.