Plant and Environmental Sciences
Deforestation and Soil Quality
By Even Bratberg
Preservation of the rain forests is an important issue in the on-going climate debate. Deforestation and conversion of native vegetation to plantations with short-term crop rotations is occurring manyl places in the world. Including Ethiopia, where deforestation and land degradation have become a serious problem.
This is the subject of Ambachew Demessie Wele's doctorate (PhD) work. His thesis has the title, "Effects of conversion of natural forest to plantations, traditional agroforestry and cultivated lands on carbon sequestration and maintenance of soil quality in Gambo District, Southern Ethiopia". Mr. Wele will defend his thesis at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) on June 11, 2010. Deforestation
Logging and conversion of forests to plantations with short-term crop rotations, for agricultural farming including grazing and intensive arable farming is an increasing problem in Ethiopia. In the Gambo District in Southern Ethiopia, where this doctorate is based on, the deforestaion has contributed to dersertification and large reductions in the soil's production potential. Sparse ground cover, over grazing and mismanagement of agricultural lands strongly contribute to the loss of carbon pool, and many essential nutrients for plant growth. The reason for this loss is poor knowledge as to what happens in the topsoil after deforestation and how to maintain a good soil quality.
The main goal of this study was to investigate the changes in the concentration and stocks of soil organic carbon and nitrogen in the soil after conversion of natural forest to traditional agroforestry and other cultivation forms. "Agroforestry" means a mixed cultivation of trees and agricultural crops, where the trees protect the cultivars underneath and contribute to plant nutrition through litter from the trees. In this study, Ambachew Demessie Wele looks at the long-time changes in the soil during a period of 10 to 50 years, and which tree types are the most suitable for the agroforestry.
Ambachew D. Wele
The results from Ambachew D. Wele's doctoral work will be most useful in his home country. Photo: Even Bratberg
Photo: Even Bratberg
(49) is from Hawassa in South Ethiopia. He has a M.Sc in forestry and farming from Bulgaria and a Post Graduate Diploma from Holland. In 2004, he started as a Ph.D student at UMB, with financial support from Hawassa University and NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation). After completing his Ph.D degree, he will return back to the Hawassa University in Ethiopia. His main supervisor for the doctorate degree has been Professor Bal Ram Singh, UMB.
Agroforestry in Ethiopia
Updated: 10.06.10Printerfriendly version
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