Assessment of current land use and potential soil and water conservation measures on surface run-off and sediment yield
Soil erosion has accelerated in most regions of the world, especially in developing countries, due to various socio-economic and demographic factors and limited expertise. In Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, soil erosion by water contributes significantly to the food insecurity of rural households and constitutes a real threat to sustainability of the existing subsistence agriculture. The degradation of natural resources is caused by heavy pressure from human and livestock populations, coupled with many other physical, socio-economic and political factors. Development of effective erosion control plans and sustainable agricultural production requires the identification of hotspot areas vulnerable to soil erosion and quantification of the amounts of soil erosion from a watershed. There are many empirical formulas and distributed erosion models for estimating soil erosion and developing the best possible soil erosion management plans. In 2008 a research project, funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), was initiated by the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in cooperation with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), the Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). The main objectives of this specific project were to assess surface run-off and sediment yield for an agricultural used watershed near Gondar, under current land use and soil management systems and to evaluate the impact of selected soil and water conservation measures on soil erosion processes.