Soil Degradation and its Management Options in Ethiopia: A Review

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Research areas:
Year:
2020
Type of Publication:
Article
Keywords:
Soil Degradation, Soil Erosion, Soil Organic Carbon Losses, Soil Quality
Authors:
Moges Tadesse Gedamu
Journal:
IJRIES
Volume:
7
Number:
5
Pages:
59-67
Month:
September
ISSN:
2394-1375
BibTex:
Abstract:
Soil degradation, a decline in soil qualities, is becoming a universal ecological problem. Accelerated erosion, depletion of the soil organic carbon pool, loss of soil fertility and nutrient imbalance, acidification, and salinization are the major soil degradation processes. Globally, it is estimated that 24 billion tons of fertile soil has been lost to erosion and it costs the world between 6.3 and 10.6 trillion dollars per year. Recent estimates indicate that if the current scenario of soil degradation continues over the next 25 years, it may reduce global food production by 12% and this will result in a 30% increase in world food prices. In Ethiopia, various human activities, including inappropriate irrigation practice, deforestation, and land misuse lead to accelerated soil degradation through salinization, flooding, erosion, and water logging. For instance, the rate of annual soil loss in the country’s cropland is estimated at 42 tons per ha per year. Soil salinity is also one of the major soil degradation problems in the country, which covers a total area of 11 million ha. Similarly, 43% of Ethiopian cultivated land is affected by soil acidity and from which, 28.1% of these soils are strongly acidic. To meet the needs of the ever-increasing population in the country, adopting sustainable land management practices is the best solution for mitigating and reversing current soil degradation trends. Proper tillage practice, crop residue management, crop rotations, agro-forestry, combined uses of organic and inorganic fertilizers, liming and cover crops are the most important options.