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Multi-criteria evaluation of soil conservation practices to sustainable cropland management in northwest highlands of Ethiopia
  • Ermias Debie
Ermias Debie
Bahir Dar University Faculty of Social Sciences
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Abstract

Although substantial efforts have been carried out to reduce land degradation and improve livelihoods, farmers' acceptance performance of soil conservation practices in economic, social, and ecological perspectives remains below the expected level in sub-humid highlands of Ethiopia. The study aimed to evaluate the acceptance performance in ecological and socio-economic aspects for adoption decision to combine the use of introduced and indigenous soil conservation practices in Goncha district, Northwest highlands of Ethiopia using a multi-criteria analysis method. Against a range of identified relative criteria, soil bunds stabilized with Sesbania sesban shrubs, followed by, Fanya-juu complemented with Sesbania sesban shrubs are the most preferred by providing multi-benefits. After that, compost use, followed by legume-cereal crop rotation provides short-term benefits in enhancing soil fertility, increasing crop yields, and reducing the cost of chemical fertilizer. Hence, the combined use of compost and soil bunds or Fanya-juu complemented with the growth of Sesbania sesban shrubs under legume-cereal crop rotation is the best alternative approach to sustainable cropland management in the sub-humid mid-highland agroecosystem of Ethiopia. It can suggest that local social, economic, and site-specific ecological criteria should incorporate in the decision-making process of soil conservation practices to increase utility.