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Connectivity between land, water, and people: integrating process concepts and assessment evidence across disciplines for co-design of soil erosion solutions
  • +11
  • W.H. Blake,
  • Claire Kelly,
  • M Wynants,
  • Aloyce Patrick,
  • Shaun Lewin,
  • Joseph Lawson,
  • Emmanuel Nasolwa,
  • Annabel Page,
  • Mona Nasseri,
  • Carey Marks,
  • David Gilvear,
  • Kelvin Mtei,
  • Linus Munishi,
  • Patrick Ndakidemi
W.H. Blake
Plymouth University
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Claire Kelly
University of Plymouth
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M Wynants
University of Plymouth
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Aloyce Patrick
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
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Shaun Lewin
Plymouth University
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Joseph Lawson
Arhwithrans Surveys Ltd
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Emmanuel Nasolwa
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
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Annabel Page
Plymouth University
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Mona Nasseri
Schumacher College
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Carey Marks
Scarlet Design
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David Gilvear
Plymouth University
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Kelvin Mtei
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
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Linus Munishi
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
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Patrick Ndakidemi
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
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Peer review status:IN REVISION

15 Apr 2020Submitted to Land Degradation & Development
20 Apr 2020Assigned to Editor
20 Apr 2020Submission Checks Completed
21 Apr 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Jun 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major

Abstract

Soil resources in East Africa are being rapidly depleted by erosion, threatening food-, water- and livelihood security in the region. Here we demonstrate how integration of evidence from natural and social sciences has supported community-led change in land management in an agro-pastoral community in northern Tanzania impacted by soil erosion. Drone survey data and geospatial analysis of erosion extent and risk, supported by communication of ‘process’ and ‘structural’ hydrological connectivity, was integrated with local environmental knowledge within participatory community workshops. Rill density data were compared between cultivated plots that had been converted from pastoral land recently and more established plots where slow-forming terrace boundaries were more established. Slope length and connectivity between plots were key factors in development of rill networks. At the two extremes, recently converted land had a rill density ca 14 times greater than equivalent established slow forming terraces. Direction of cultivation, regardless of plot boundary orientation with contours, also enhanced rill development. Evidence of this critical time window of hillslope-scale rill erosion risk during early phases of slow-forming terrace development successfully underpinned and catalysed a community-led tree planting and grass seed sowing programme to mitigate soil erosion by water. This was grounded in an implicit community understanding of the need for effective governance mechanisms at both community and District levels, to enable community-led actions to be implemented effectively. The study demonstrates the wide-reaching impact of integrated and interdisciplinary ‘upslope-downslope’ thinking to tackle global soil erosion challenges.