Participatory Evaluation of Different Multipurpose Grass Species for Graded Soil Bund Stabilization in Gimbo District, South West Ethiopia


Soil erosion is one of the biggest threats to agricultural productivity in South West Ethiopia. Steep slopes, high rainfall and fragile ecosystem characterize these production systems. To reverse this trend, integration of physical and biological soil and water conservation measures is very important. This study was conducted to evaluate different multi-purpose grass species as soil bund stabilizers. Graded soil bunds were constructed on selected eight farmers’ farmland and five grass stabilizers were grown on the embankment of the bund. Five soil bund stabilizers are i) vetiver grass, ii) elephant grass, iii) desho grass, iv) rodes grass, and v) guinea grass. Data on the survival, biomass, and frequency of harvest of those stabilizers on the soil bund were collected. Soil samples were also taken before and after the establishment of experiment. Furthermore, performance criteria were established through group discussions with farmers, and stabilizer (grass) performance was later evaluated according to these criteria. The criteria were weighted using pair-wise ranking and scored with a scale of 1 (not good) to 5 (best) based on each criterion. Desho grass was found to survive and establish on the embankment of soil bund earlier (10 - 25 days) than the others and followed by elephant and vetiver grass. Furthermore, desho grass was observed to have higher green biomass and frequency of harvest compared to elephant and vetiver grasses. Results of soil chemical properties (Soil N, soil P, Soil K, % OC, pH and CEC) revealed no significant differences in amount of total N, and available P and K between the soils of “before” and “after” the establishment of integrated soil bund. Based on the overall weighted scores obtained using pairwise ranking approach, desho grass (P. pedicelluatum) was found to be the overall most desirable stabilizers and followed by elephant (Pennisetum purpureum) and vetiver (Vetiverial zizanioides) grasses in the study area. Therefore, there is a need to develop SWC practices with stabilizers such as desho and elephant grasses.

Share and Cite:

Yakob, G. , Gebremicheal, A. , Aklilu, A. and Melaku, E. (2015) Participatory Evaluation of Different Multipurpose Grass Species for Graded Soil Bund Stabilization in Gimbo District, South West Ethiopia. Open Access Library Journal, 2, 1-10. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1101627.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Central Statistical Authority (CSA) (2008) Statistical Abstract of Ethiopia. Central Statistical Authority, Addis Ababa.
[2] EPA (2003) State of Environment Report for Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
[3] CFSCDD/MoA (1986) Guidelines for Development Agents on Soil Conservation in Ethiopia. Switzerland.
[4] Shiferaw, B. and Holden, S. (2000) Policy Instruments for Sustainable Land Management: The Case of Highland Smallholders in Ethiopia. Agricultural Economics, 22, 217-232.
[5] Taddese, G. (2001) Land Degradation: A Challenge to Ethiopia. Environmental Management, 27, 815-824.
[6] Bewket, W. and Sterk, G. (2002) Farmers’ Participation in Soil and Water Conservation Activities in the Chemoga Watershed, Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. Land Degradation & Development, 13, 189-200.
[7] Bekele, W. and Drake, L. (2003) Soil and Water Conservation Decision Behavior of Subsistence Farmers in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia: A Case Study of the Hunde-Lafto Area. Ecological Economics, 46, 437-451.
[8] Gebremedhin, B. and Swinton, S.M. (2003) Investment in Soil Conservation in Northern Ethiopia: The Role of Land Tenure Security and Public Programs. Agricultural Economics, 29, 69-84.
[9] Wagayehu, B. and Lars, D. (2003) Soil and Water Conservation Decision of Subsistence Farmers in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia: A Case Study of the Hunde-Lafto.
[10] Woldeamlak, B. (2003) Land Degradation and Farmers’ Acceptance and Adoption of Conservation Technologies in the Digil Watershed, Northwestern 99 Highlands Ethiopia. Social Science Research Report Series, No. 29. OSSERA, Addis Ababa.
[11] Adimassu, Z., Mekonnen, K., Yirga, C. and Kessler, A. (2014) Effect of Soil Bunds on Runoff, Soil and Nutrient Losses, and Crop Yield in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. Land Degradation & Development, 25, 554-564.
[12] Shiferaw, B. and Holden, S.T. (1999) Soil Erosion and Smallholders’ Conservation Decisions in the Highlands of Ethiopia. World Development, 27, 739-752.
[13] Hurni, H. (1983) Soil Formation Rate in Ethiopia. Working Paper 2, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Joint Project, Ethiopian Highlands Reclamation Study, Addis Ababa.
[14] Belay, T. (1992) Farmers’ Perception of Erosion Hazards and Attitudes towards Soil Conservation in Gunono, Wolayita, Southern Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Development Research, 14, 31-58.
[15] Gebreegziabher, T., Nyssen, J., Govaerts, B., Getnet, F., Behailu, M., Haile, M. and Deckers, J. (2008) Contour Furrows for in Situ Soil and Water Conservation, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Soil & Tillage Research, 103, 257-264.
[16] Herweg, K. and Ludi, E. (1999) The Performance of Selected Soil and Water Conservation Measures—Case Studies from Ethiopia and Eritrea. Catena, 36, 99-114.
[17] Critchley, W.R.S., Reij, C. and Willcocks, T.J. (1994) Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation: A Review of the State of Knowledge and Prospects for Building on Traditions. Land Degradation & Rehabilitation, 5, 293-314.
[18] German, L., Mansoor, H., Alemu, G., Mazengia, W., Amede, T. and Stroud, A. (2007) Participatory Integrated Watershed Management: Evolution of Concepts and Methods in an Eco-Regional Program of the Eastern African Highlands. Agricultural Systems, 94, 189-204.
[19] CBFED (2004) Coordination Bureau of Finance and Economic Development. Regional Atlas. Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Regional Sate Bureau of Statistics and Population. E.M Press, Awassa.
[20] Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ethiopia (2005) Community Based Participatory Watershed Development: A Guideline e Part 1. MoARD, Addis Ababa.
[21] Ludi, E. (2004) Economic Analysis of Soil Conservation: Case Studies from the Highlands of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Ph.D. Thesis, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern.
[22] Liniger, H. and Critchley, W. (2007) Improved Grazing Land Management in Ethiopia. In: Liniger, H. and Critchley, W., Eds., Where the Land Is Greener: Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide, CTA, Wageningen.
[23] Adimassu, Z., Gorfu, B., Nigussie, D., Mowo, J. and Hilemichael, K. (2013) Farmers’ Preference for Soil and Water Conservation Practices in Central Highlands of Ethiopia. African Crop Science Journal, 21, 781-790.
[24] Ray, H.H. (2007) The Effects of Physical Techniques on Soil Conservation in Mubi and Environs Adamawata State, Nigeria. Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Environment, 3, 112-121.
[25] Thomas, D.B. (1993) Choosing Conservation Measures for Copland in Small Holdings in Kenya. In: Hudson, N. and Cheatle, R.J., Eds., Involving with Farmers for Better Land Husbandry, SRP Ltd., Exeter.
[26] Sanders, D. (2004) Soil Conservation: Land Use, Land Cover and Soil Sciences. World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, Bristol.
[27] Junge, B., Abaidoo, R., Chikoye, D. and Stahr, K. (2008) Soil Conservation in Nigeria: Past and Present On-Station and On-Farm Initiatives. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny.
[28] Adimassu, Z., Kessler, A. and Hengsdijk, H. (2012) Exploring Determinants of Farmers’ Investments in Land Management in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Applied Geography, 35, 191-198.
[29] Tsegaye, G. and G/Michael, A. (2014) Review on Overall Status of Soil and Water Conservation System and Its Constraints in Different Agro Ecology of Southern Ethiopia. Journal of Natural Sciences Research, 4, 59-70.
[30] Dinku, A. and Nedessa, B. (2012) Improvement of Grazing Lands through the Introduction of Improved Forage Species with Special Emphasis on Desho-Grass. MERET NEWs, No. 12.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.