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The effect of soil and water conservation structures on the soil biophysical and chemical properties in the Gidabo sub-Basin, Ethiopian Rift Valley

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Soil erosion is one of the global challenges noticed as a cause for unsustainable socio-economic and environmental conditions. Over the last half-century, various soil and water conservation (SWC) practices were introduced in Ethiopia, but the conservation work could not be fully achieved in many areas. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the effect and constraints of physical SWC on selected soil biophysical and chemical properties of the Ethiopian rift valley. The primary and secondary data sources were used to answer the intended objectives. The statistical analysis of variance showed that the soil texture of the study area was affected by the type of conservation technologies than agroecology and slope characteristics. However, soil bulk density was not significantly affected at all. The study also showed that the soil biophysical and chemical properties were significantly affected by the variation of agroecology and SWC technologies. The overall result of the study depicted that about 40% of the conservation work failed to maintain soil fertility because the farmers have constraints to adopt and adapt the SWC work. The constraints include small land size, shortage of fuel wood, dependency on food aid, less productivity of the soil, youth migration, and long lasted effect of conservation works. These constraints were seen as causes for inferior agricultural product, food insecurity, famine, migration and frequent drought of the area. The study concluded that the SWC work of the area should focus on variation of agroecology, SWC technologies, and local constraints. Also, the policy of natural resource conservation should consider local constraints to implement the national SWC guideline. Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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