Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1125
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1125
24 Apr 2024
 | 24 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Gully rehabilitation in Southern Ethiopia – value and impacts for farmers

Wolde Mekuria, Euan Phimister, Getahun Yakob, Desalegn Tegegne, Awdenegest Moges, Yitna Tesfaye, Dagmawi Melaku, Charlene Gerber, Paul Hallett, and Jo Smith

Abstract. Gully erosion can be combatted in severely affected regions like sub-Saharan Africa by a range of low-cost interventions that are accessible to affected farmers. However, for successful implementation, biophysical evidence of the effectiveness of interventions needs to be combined with buy-in and input from local communities. Working with farmers in a watershed in Southern Ethiopia, we investigated (a) the effectiveness of low-cost gully rehabilitation measures to reduce soil loss and upward expansion of gully heads, (b) how farmers and communities view gully interventions, and (c) whether demonstrating gully interventions in-context changes farmers’ knowledge and perceptions of their capacity to act. On-farm field experiments, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and household surveys were used to collect and analyze data. Three gully treatments were explored, all with riprap, one also with grass planting, and one with grass planting and check-dam integration. Over a period of 26 months these low-cost practices ceased measurable gully head expansion, whereas untreated gullies had a mean upward expansion of 671 cm resulting in a calculated soil loss of 11.0 tonnes. Farmers viewed these gully rehabilitation measures positively, apart from the high cost of input materials and technical requirements of gabion check-dams. Ongoing rehabilitation activities and on-farm trials influenced knowledge and understanding of similar gully treatments among survey respondents. On-farm experiments and field day demonstrations empowered farmers to act, addressing pessimism from some respondents about their capacity to do so.

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Wolde Mekuria, Euan Phimister, Getahun Yakob, Desalegn Tegegne, Awdenegest Moges, Yitna Tesfaye, Dagmawi Melaku, Charlene Gerber, Paul Hallett, and Jo Smith

Status: open (until 07 Jun 2024)

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Wolde Mekuria, Euan Phimister, Getahun Yakob, Desalegn Tegegne, Awdenegest Moges, Yitna Tesfaye, Dagmawi Melaku, Charlene Gerber, Paul Hallett, and Jo Smith
Wolde Mekuria, Euan Phimister, Getahun Yakob, Desalegn Tegegne, Awdenegest Moges, Yitna Tesfaye, Dagmawi Melaku, Charlene Gerber, Paul Hallett, and Jo Smith

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Short summary
Working with farmers in a watershed in Southern Ethiopia, we investigated (a) the effectiveness of low-cost gully rehabilitation measures to reduce soil loss and upward expansion of gully heads, and (b) how farmers and communities view gully interventions. Over a period of 26 months, low-cost practices ceased measurable gully head expansion, whereas untreated gullies had a mean upward expansion of 671 cm resulting in a calculated soil loss of 11.0 tonnes.