The Effect of Agroforestry Practices and Elevation Gradients on Soil Chemical Properties in Gununo Watershed, Ethiopia

Abstract This study was conducted in Gunugo watershed at Wolayitta zone to assess the amount of some soil chemical properties affected by traditional agroforestry practices and along different elevation gradients. The dominant agroforestry practices (homegarden, parkland and woodlot), and three elevation gradients (upper, middle and lower) were used to collect soil samples. One composite sample was taken from each sampling point from each soil depths, under three agroforestry practices and three elevation gradient with three replications to have a total of 54 soil samples at 20 x 20 m plot. Then the selected soil chemical properties among agroforestry practices and along elevation gradient was determined at p<0.05. The EC, pH and CEC of the top soil was significantly higher on homegarden than parkland and woodlot while EC, pH and total nitrogen of the sub soil were significantly higher on homegarden than parkland and woodlot. Further, only the top soil EC and CEC were significantly higher on lower elevation than upper and middle elevation and there was no significant difference in sub soil chemical parameters among elevation levels. In relation to this, most of the soil chemical properties show as the study area is being degraded. Therefore, are recommended for sustainable soil chemical property management. Hence, homegarden is suggested as a better agroforestry practice for rehabilitation of the area in a sustainable manner through enhanced accumulation of total nitrogen, good EC and CEC at all elevation gradients.

Keywords Chemical property, Elevation, Homegarden, Parkland, Soil, Woodlot.

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