African Journal of Soil Science ISSN 2375-088X Vol. 8 (6), pp. 001-013, June, 2020. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Effectiveness of exclosures to control soil erosion and local community perception on soil erosion in Tigray, Ethiopia

Wolde Mekuria1, 2*, Edzo Veldkamp2, Mitiku Haile1, Kindeya Gebrehiwot1, Bart Muys3 and Jan Nyssen4

1Department of Land Resource Management and Environmental Protection at Mekelle University, P. O. Box 231, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia.

2Institute of Soil Sciences and Forest Nutrition at the University of Goettingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Goettingen, Germany.

3Department of earth and environmental sciences, Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape at K. U. Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200e bus 02411, B – 3001 Harverlee, K.U. Leuven, Belgium.

4Department of Geography at Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S8, 9000 Gent, Belgium.

Accepted 15 April, 2020

Abstract

The study investigated how effective exclosures are in the fight against soil erosion and how they are perceived as a means to control soil erosion by the local community (farmers and local experts). The universal soil loss equation (USLE) used to estimate potential soil erosion. Data on local community perception obtained from a survey of 62 farm households and five local experts. In-depth interview, group discussion and non-participant field observation also carried out to obtain additional information. The USLE results agreed with the farmers’ (67%) and local experts’ opinion that erosion at study area is severe and affect the quality of lives of residents. Insignificant difference (p > 0.05) was observed in the estimated soil loss among treatments. However, the estimated soil loss from free grazing lands was hi-gher by 47% than soil loss from exclosures which illustrated that exclosures are effective to control soil erosion. The majority of farmers (70%) also rated exclosures effectiveness to control soil erosion as high. Local communities were optimistic about the chances to rehabilitate degraded lands and make them productive. The majority of farmers (60%) did not consider population growth as a cause of soil erosion. For the majority of interviewed farmers, poor land management is more important. Efforts to create awareness within the rural communities should focus on the link between high population gro-wth, environmental degradation and poverty. The optimistic view of local communities can be con-sidered as an asset for the planning and development of degraded lands rehabilitation efforts.

Key words: Ethiopia, exclosures, local experts, perception, rural community, soil erosion.