Impact of Land Use Types on Soil Degradation in Meja Watershed, Jeldu District, West Shoa, Ethiopia
Keywords:cultivated land, grazing land, Forest/plantation land, soil quality, soil degradation index
Poor land resources management with the consequence of soil degradation is the main cause of low agricultural productivity and food insecurity in the rural highlands of Ethiopia. The current study was undertaken at Meja watershed, located in the Jeldu district, Oromia region. The aim of the study was to assess the impacts of different land use types on soil quality parameters in the watershed. Soil samples collected from the upper 0-20 cm depth from cultivated, grazing and forest lands was analyzed for various soil quality parameters. The results indicated that soil parameters such as, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and organic matter (OM) content were significantly higher for forest and grazing land than for cultivated land whereas electrical conductivity (EC), total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (AvP), exchangeable K, Ca and Mg contents were significantly higher for forest land compared to both grazing and cultivated lands. Other soil parameter such BD was higher for cultivated land than for the other land use types. The results clearly indicated that land use types significantly influenced soil quality suggesting that a change from forest land to the other land use types aggravated soil degradation resulting in soil fertility decline in the study watershed.
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