Expansion of Eucalyptus Woodlots in the Fertile Soils of the Highlands of Ethiopia: Could It Be a Treat on Future Cropland Use?

  •  Birru Yitaferu    
  •  Anteneh Abewa    
  •  Tadele Amare    


A study was conducted to assess the effect of land use change from eucalyptus to cropland on soil physico-chemical properties and perceptions of farmers in Koga irrigation area, Amhara Region. Soil samples were taken from 4 sites of three land uses (eucalyptus woodlots, cropland, and eucalyptus land use changed to cropping) and at 0-20, 20-40 and 40-60 cm depths. The three depths were used for analysis of soil chemical properties, whereas the first two depths for physical properties. Furthermore, randomly selected 15 farmers were interviewed for their perception on the state of soil fertility and crop yield conditions on lands that were recently changed from eucalyptus to cropland. The result showed that except for available P, sampled plots that were changed from eucalyptus to cropland were found better in soil chemical properties (pH, N, CEC) and SOM contents as compared to croplands. As compared to the other two land uses, total N was found larger at eucalyptus woodlots. Regarding soil physical properties (bulk density and texture), little or no difference was recorded among the different land use types. On top of that, farmers perceived that plots that were under eucalyptus have better fertility, require less nitrogen fertilizer and crops perform well compared to plots that are contineously under cropping. Thus, results of this study confirmed that changing land use from eucalyptus to cropland is possible without detrimental effect on soil properties and without affecting productivity of lands to raise crops.

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