Impacts of Soil and Water Conservation on Land Suitability to Crops: The Case of Anjeni Watershed, Northwest Ethiopia

Woubet Alemu, Tadele Amare, Birru Yitaferu, Yihenew G. Selassie, Bettina Wolfgramm, Hans Hurni

Abstract


Soil loss in Ethiopia due to water erosion is a serious economic and environmental problem. Soil and water conservation (SWC) practices provide multiple onsite and offsite benefits. Thus, the present study was carried out to examine the long-term impacts of SWC measures in improving ecosystem services in general and land suitability to crop production in particular. Land suitability classes (LSC) were accounted using the multi-criteria analysis (MCA) on bio-physical variables of the environment. LSC were sorted by combining the FAO framework of land evaluation with GIS tools. Thus, LSC for teff (Eragrostis teff), maize (Zea mays L.), barley (Hordeum vulgaris L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were found S2 and S3 in 1984 and 1997 whereas in 2010, some areas were transformed to S1 classes for wheat and teff. Suitable land allocation for these crops was made and 50% of the watershed is found to be S1 class for wheat while about 40% is in S2 class for all crops. In 1997 barley and teff covered 29.2% and 28.9%, respectively. While in 2010, 19% of the area was covered by teff, 18.9% by maize, 16.9% by barley and 15.6% by wheat. Wheat and maize showed significant spatial expansions that are best indicator crops for the betterment of the land quality or soil improvement.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/jas.v5n2p95

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Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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