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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (2): 249-263    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0097-8
Orginal Article     
Efficiency of soil and water conservation practices in different agro-ecological environments in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
DagnenetSULTAN1,2,*(), TSUNEKAWA Atsushi3, HAREGEWEYN Nigussie4, ADGO Enyew5, TSUBO Mitsuru6, T MESHESHA Derege3,5, MASUNAGA Tsugiyuki7, AKLOG Dagnachew8, A FENTA Ayele1, EBABU Kindiye1,5
1 The United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tottori University, Tottori 680-8553, Japan
2 School of Civil and Water Resource Engineering, Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
3 Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
4 International Platform for Dryland Research and Education, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
5 Department of Natural Resources Management, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
6 Institute for Soil, Climate and Water, Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria 0083, South Africa
7 Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, Shimane University, Shimane Matsue 690-0823, Japan
8 Center for International Affairs, Tottori University, Tottori 680-8550, Japan
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In developing countries such as Ethiopia, research to develop and promote soil and water conservation practices rarely addressed regional diversity. Using a water-balance approach in this study, we used runoff plots from three sites, each representing a different agro-ecological environment, e.g.,high, mid and low in both elevation and rainfall, in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopiato examine the runoff response and runoff conservation efficiency of a range of different soil and water conservation measures and their impacts on soil moisture. The plots at each site represented common land use types (cultivated vs. non-agricultural land use types) and slopes (gentle and steep). Seasonal runoff from control plots in the highlands ranged 214-560 versus 253-475 mm at midlands and 119-200 mm at lowlands. The three soil and water conservation techniques applied in cultivated land increased runoff conservation efficiency by 32% to 51%, depending on the site. At the moist subtropical site in a highland region, soil and water conservation increased soil moisture enough to potentially cause waterlogging, which was absent at the low-rainfall sites. Soil bunds combined with Vetiveriazizanioides grass in cultivated land and short trenches in grassland conserved the most runoff (51% and 55%, respectively). Runoff responses showed high spatial variation within and between land use types, causing high variation in soil and water conservation efficiency. Our results highlight the need to understand the role of the agro-ecological environment in the success of soil and water conservation measures to control runoff and hydrological dynamics. This understanding will support policy development to promote the adoption of suitable techniques that can be tested at other locations with similar soil, climatic, and topographic conditions.

Key wordsagro-ecology      drought-prone      runoff coefficient      runoff conservation efficiency      Ethiopia     
Received: 19 May 2017      Published: 10 April 2018
Corresponding Authors: DagnenetSULTAN     E-mail:
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The first and fourth authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

DagnenetSULTAN, TSUNEKAWA Atsushi, HAREGEWEYN Nigussie, ADGO Enyew, TSUBO Mitsuru, T MESHESHA Derege, MASUNAGA Tsugiyuki, AKLOG Dagnachew, A FENTA Ayele, EBABU Kindiye. Efficiency of soil and water conservation practices in different agro-ecological environments in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(2): 249-263.

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