Lessons from Community Based Participatory Integrated Watershed Management, the Case
of Somodo Watershed, South-Western Ethiopia,
Leta Hailu1*, Wondimagegn Teka1 and Gizaw Tesfaye2
1Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Jimma Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia
2Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Melkasa Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia
Submission: January 14, 2021;Published: February 02, 2021
*Corresponding author: Leta Hailu, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Jimma Agricultural Research Center, Jimma, Ethiopia
How to cite this article: Leta H, Wondimagegn T, Gizaw T. Lessons from Community Based Participatory Integrated Watershed Management, the Case of Somodo Watershed, South-Western Ethiopia, A Review. Int J Environ Sci Nat Res. 2021; 27(1): 556204. DOI:10.19080/IJESNR.2021.27.556204
Land degradation due to soil erosion is a serious problem for the agricultural sector of developing countries. Somodo watershed is degraded due to inappropriate land use, overgrazing, and high rainfall causing severe soil erosion. A community based participatory integrated watershed management program has been proposed and implemented at Somodo watershed since 2011 to solve biophysical and socioeconomic related problems. Therefore, the objective of the study is to summarize the major interventions and achievements of the watershed. Before the intervention of different technologies, problems were identified and prioritized by the community of the watershed. Awareness creation and capacity building training were held in the watershed for more than 264 farmers, 47 DAs, and 49 administration staffs on different technologies at different times. Soil erosion control measures, soil fertility enhancement practices, niche compatible multipurpose trees introduction, and other interventions were implemented. River discharge and suspended sediment were monitored at the outlet of the watershed. Accordingly, more than 190km soil bund and 45km Vetiver hedgerows were done in the watershed, and 25,455 multipurpose tree seedlings and 40,000 seedlings of five improved coffee varieties have been raised at community nursery and planted in the watershed. Improved varieties of various fruits and crops were introduced and well adapted in the watershed. Demonstration of lime technologies was introduced on 35 ha of 140 farmer’s farmlands. The established level soil bund stabilized with vetiver hedgerows were significantly (P<0.01) affected SMC (%), BD (g/cm3), and SOC (%) on conserved croplands. Two years aged vetiver hedgerows reduced slope of treated farmland by 2.5 (%) and improved available phosphorus and exchangeable acidity above the hedgerows. The soil pH has slightly increased in limed and enhanced yield of crops. In general, the study revealed that the intervention of integrated watershed management (IWM) increases household source of income, improved the practice of soil and water conservation (SWC), utilization of organic and inorganic fertilizers that enhances the soil quality and reduce the risk of soil erosion. Furthermore, socioeconomic related factors of the farmers were improved as compared to the base year. In summary, as a result of the IWM interventions, the discharge of the water had shown an increasing trend while sediment yield showed a decreasing trend from the base year. Therefore, IWM is a suggested approach to improve natural resource management and to sustain the livelihood of the community.
In Ethiopia, soil erosion is one of a serious problem challenging the agricultural sector and economic development . It is severe in general and particularly in the highland areas where land highly degraded and exacerbates the prevailing of food insecurity in the country . For several decades, integrated and sustainable watershed management has been suggested and tried in several countries in the world, as an effective way to address complex water and land resource challenges. Integrated watershed management (IWM) is being promoted as a suitable strategy for improving productivity and sustainable intensification of agriculture in rain
fed drought prone regions of the world. Watershed management (WM) encompasses the holistic approach to manage watershed resources that integrates forestry, agriculture, pasture and water management, which can be broadened to rural development with a strong link to the livelihoods of the local people . Integrated watershed management (IWM) interventions and improved access to markets and agricultural innovations are useful strategies for reducing poverty, improving livelihood resilience and sustainability in less-favored areas. Some benefits of IWM are non-tangible public goods, and hence not fully captured by individual resource users .
The Somodo Watershed of southwestern Ethiopia is well
known for its inappropriate land use, high population pressure,
overgrazing, and high rainfall, which are causing severe soil
erosion for the past many years [5-7]. The watershed mean
annual soil loss rate was found 18.69-ton ha-1 year-1 ranging
from negligible value to 131.21-ton ha-1 year-1 identified using
GIS based USLE model . Most of the sub watershed has soil
loss more than 20-ton ha-1 year-1, which is not in the acceptable
range of annual soil loss of 11-ton ha-1 year-1. Soil erosion by
water is a major watershed problem of agricultural production
of the country that causes significant loss of soil fertility, loss of
productivity and environmental degradation and final results to
yield reduction and suffers the surrounding community to food
In general, fourteen (14) problems were identified and prioritized
by the community in the watershed, which requires appropriate
interventions for the identified problems. Accordingly, to alleviate
the land degradation induced due to soil erosion and socioeconomic
problem of the watershed. Jimma Agricultural Research center under
the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research have extensively
implemented integrated watershed management for the past nine
years in the Somodo Watershed. Therefore, the objective of this
review is to summarize the major interventions and achievements of
Somodo model watershed management in its existing periods.
Somodo model watershed was selected by the Ethiopian
Institute of Agricultural Research of Jimma Agricultural Research
Center (EIAR-JARC) in 2011 as a demonstration and Coffee based
learning model watershed for sustainable natural resource
management. The watershed is located in the upper part of
the Dhidhessa catchment in the Nile basin, in the Jimma zone
of Oromia regional state, Southwestern part of Ethiopia. It lies
between 7o46’00’’ - 7o47’00’’N latitude and 36o48’00’’-36o47’00’’E
longitude with altitude ranging from 1900-2050m a.s.l. (Figure 1).
It covers 400 hectares and comprises about 300 households. On
average it receives 1800mm annual rainfall. Nitisol is a dominant
soil type and about 68% of the watershed soil is extremely acidic
(pH value 3.75 to 4.5). The watershed is characterized by different
land use types by cultivation land domination and less forested
area. Coffee based and agro-forestry systems are common
farming systems in the watershed. The average land holding size
of household is 1.08ha and half of the house hold owns less than
0.75ha of land [5,6].
Awareness creation and capacity building
Prior to dissemination of new technology to the area and
conducting demonstration, all stakeholders are participated on
awareness creation of the community with different training, then
the local farmers capacitated on modern agricultural technologies
and know the ways of watershed management interventions.
Based on this, about 264 farmer households out of 290 (91%)
has been trained, and 47 and 49 development agents and
administration facilitators have been trained, respectively. Totally,
360 participants involved in the watershed management capacity
building program (Table 1).
Implementation and evaluation of biological and
physical soil and water conservation measures
Soil erosion problem is one of the main prioritized problem of
the watershed. Thus, to limit the soil loss due to severe soil erosion
to acceptable level huge soil and water conservation structure was
constructed to reduce run off velocity and enhancing infiltration
of runoff into the soil. Soil bund of more than 190 km (85%)
of watershed or 320 hectare) has been constructed through
community mobilization and some of the structures covered with
biological means (vetiver grass, Susbania and other agroforestry
tree seedlings). The Vetiver grasses were introduced and planted
with 20*20cm inter and intra row spacing with staggered pattern
as hedgerows and integrated with a soil bund as a stabilizer. Most
of the Vetiver hedgerows have been established successfully.
More than 45km (20%) of watershed or 75 hectares has been
covered by Vetiver hedgerows on soil bund and without soil bund
. The established level soil bund stabilized with Vetiver was
significantly (p< 0.01) affected soil moisture content (%), bulk
density (g/cm3), and soil organic carbon (%) as compared to un
conserved cropland at Somodo Watershed .
The slope of the farm land treated with Vetiver hedgerows
was reduced by 2.5% as compared to before the establishment
of hedgerows on the farmlands . This reveals that the
effectiveness of the Vetiver hedgerows in reducing the velocity of
the runoff and result in accumulation of sediment above the slope.
That enhance development of the bench terrace through time and
improve physicochemical properties of the soil. For instance, the
average available phosphorous of above hedgerow of the farm
lands was enhanced three times of below hedgerow lands that
was from 1ppm to 4ppm. While, exchangeable acidity of above
hedgerow farm lands was minimized than below hedgerow lands
from 0.9 to 0.5 Meq/100g of soil. Similarly, the established Vetiver
hedgerows was reduced slope of treated farmland as compared
to untreated adjacent farmland at Haru district, western Ethiopia
Establishment of community nursery and plantation of
niche compatible multipurpose tree species in model
Deforestation due expansion of agricultural land, logging,
charcoal and fuel wood production are another identified
problem that contribute to soil erosion and land degradation of
the watershed. Accordingly, to improve the forest cover of the
watershed, eight community nursery in 2011/2012 and two
in 2013/2014 were established in a watershed with organizing
user groups and introduce different highland variety of specialty
coffees, coffee shade trees and multipurpose trees were raised
within all sites (Table 2).
The establishments of the community nursery at their farm
levels were enabled farmers to produce improved coffee variety
and multipurpose forest tree seedlings sustainable. Furthermore,
it creates the opportunity of income generation from selling of
seedlings to non-producers.
Indigenous and exotic tree species such as Grevillea, Tid,
Different acacia species, different coffee shade trees and coffee
seedlings have been planted around the farms and homesteads
fences. About 20% of household (60 Household farmers) were
considered in the impact assessment survey. Then, more than
13,608 woody biomass fuels are available after the interventions.
These tree species were raised at community nursery site,
distributed and planted within community were increased the
watershed forest cover and decreased deforestation .
Introduction of different improved and high yielding
Low production due to use of local variety and reduced soil
fertility was also the main problem of the watershed. In 2011,
improved variety of grafted avocado seedlings were introduced to
the watershed. Some of the seedlings were established successfully
in model watershed. More than 40,000 seedlings of five highland
coffee varieties have been raised in Somodo watershed nurseries
in 2012. More than 5000 and 1000 coffee seedlings were
distributed in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Also, more than 500
bananas (five variety), Teff (Qunco and kora varieties), Barley
(BH-1370), Soybean Clarck 63K were distributed for farmers to
introduce and evaluate for their adaptability and productivity.
Potato (Gudane) variety was also well adapted in the watershed
and mean of 18,956kg ha-1 of yield have been gained up to the
maximum yield of 31,660kg ha-1 (Figure 1). These interventions
were improved the productivity and production of the watershed.
High yield had been obtained due to row sowing over the
broadcast within different crop types and varieties. The difference
in yield also accounted in different location of the watershed due
to edaphic heterogeneity and altitudinal variability (Table 3).
Introduction and demonstration of lime technologies
In Somodo watershed, introduction of lime technology started
in 2011. Lime pre-scaling up trial was laid down to evaluate the
effect of lime on the yield of maize and soil chemical properties.
The intervention at each site involved two treatments (with and
without lime) and the plot size was 10*10 when started, and
maize variety BH 660 has been used as a test crop. However,
after introducing the technology the large scale demonstration
(2500m2) covered with lime for each 140 farmers (35ha). Where
the recommended fertilizer to the area (46 P2O5 or 100kg of DAP,
and 92N or 200kg of Urea ha-1) has been applied. On average,
more than 866kg maize yield was obtained from lime applied
plots over un-limed that mean, 4286 kg ha-1 and 3420kg ha-1 from
with and without lime, respectively (Figure 2). Moreover, the soil
pH has slightly increased for most of the locations. Soybean was
used to evaluate residual lime effect at Somodo. The limed plot
has given 275kg ha-1 yield difference when compared with yield
obtained from without lime . The farm land treated with lime
increased maize yields by 866kg ha-1 advantage over un-limed.
Whereas, the residual effects of lime provide 275kg ha-1 yield
advantage over un-limed to Soybean crop. The pH of the soil was
slightly improved under most of the locations that might enhance
the availability of the nutrients (Figure 3).
Introduction and demonstration of improved energy
The energy consumption of the households of the watershed
depends on forest resource and biomass . Training on Awramba
energy saving stove construction and use has been given on June
2012. During the training, Awramba energy saving stove has been
constructed for one farmer in model watershed. In 2014, 12 women
participated in training on how to construct and use the energy
saving stove. After training, they cooperated to construct the stove
and sell to farmers in the watershed and those living around the
watershed and the cooperative had been earned 15000 ETB within
6 months .
Demonstration and evaluation of conservation
For Soybean crop, conventional tillage operation has shown
high yield potential at all year except 2019 year over conservation
or minimum tillage operation (Figure 4). These have needed
further investigation to know the mechanism of crops favor
For Maize crop, Conservation tillage operation has shown
high yield potential at all year over conventional tillage operation
(Figure 5). These also have needed further investigation to know
the mechanism of crops favor conservation tillage. This might be
due to crop root system and Maize crop favored from crop rotation
Introduction and evaluation of livestock, poultry and
apiculture technologies in the model watershed
Trainings were given to farmers on the importance of artificial
insemination (AI) in improving the productivity of dairies. From
each peasant association or Geres cows with good performance
were selected and artificially inseminated. Fifteen cows were
totally inseminated, and ten cows gave birth .
In 2012, 50 chickens a day old with three-month forage were
given for each selected model farmers for free. Totally 15 one day
old chickens were introduced into Somodo watershed in 2012.
Their survival rate by that year was 70%. Neighboring farmers
were highly interested in the breeds and they bought these breed
eggs from these model farmers. In 2014 another five model farmer
was selected and constructed house for chickens and paid 6 ETB
for each chicken then 300 ETB collected from individual farmers.
About 300 one day old chickens were bought from Debrezeit
Agricultural Research Center and distributed to selected model
farmers with three-month balanced forage. The survival rate
of these chickens was 65%. These were helped to enhance the
introduction and promotion of improved breeds of poultry and
hence increase the productivity as well .
Transitional and modern beehives have been introduced in
model watershed, Accordingly, more than 20 and 50 transitional
and modern beehives, respectively were demonstrated in the
watershed. Honey yield has been obtained 125 kg per one modern
hive while 5kg obtained from traditional hive .
Introduction and evaluation of different forage crops/
Awareness creation was given on the management and usage
of locally available forage and fodder’s. Rhodes and elephant
grass were a major forage grasses which were introduced in
model watershed and tree luceren as well sesbania sesban were
introduced tree forages. Alfalfa, pigeon pea and oats were also
introduced through inter-cropping between maize rows and used
as animal feeds to enhance livestock production and productivity.
Straws of crops also used as a feed source and aware the farmers
on how to use it, training and awareness creation was given at
Characterization of different existing agroforestry
practices and its effect on soil properties
In Somodo watershed, Home garden Agroforestry, Plantation
forest, farm forestry, Natural forest, cultivation land and grazing
land are identified land uses. In home garden agro-forestry, coffee
Arabica and Persia Americana species were the dominant one, but
in plantation forestry, Grevillea Robusta and Coffee Arabica have a
higher frequency. Concerning species richness, Albizia Gumifera,
Coffee Arabica and Milletia Ferriginea were the dominant
compared to other species found in natural agro-forestry in the
area. However, in farm agro-forestry, Grevillea Robusta has a
higher species richness in the watershed. Regarding importance
value index (IVI), Coffee Arabica (103%) and Albizia Gumifera
(47.77%) were higher importance value index in home garden
agro-forestry. In plantation agro-forestry, coffee Arabica (61.3%)
and Croton Macrostachyus (59.5) have great IVI in the area. From
natural agro-forestry, Coffee Arabica (108.2%), in farm agroforestry
Grevillea Robusta (104.99) and Croton Macrostachyus
(48) have higher IVI value. IVI is an important parameter that
reveals the ecological significance of species in a given ecosystem.
Therefore, coffee Arabica, Albizia Gumifera, Grevillea Robusta
and Croton Macrostachyus are widely adapted and economically
important in the area .
After the interventions of integrated watershed management
approach in model watershed; the livestock (5%), other products (3%) and business activities (2%) has been increased
in experimental group than in control group. However, the
dependence on agriculture was reduced by 7% over the control
group in the experimental group .
As described in (Table 4) physical and biological soil and
water conservations, organic and inorganic fertilizer utilizations
were exhibited higher mean value in the experimental group than
the control group.
In the watershed as compared to the base year, farmers’
perception towards soil quality and soil erosion severity scale
were improved as compared to interviewed farmers outside of
the watershed. Apparently, this might be due to intervention of
biological and physical soil and water conservation, awareness
and utilization of organic and inorganic fertilizers widely in
the watershed. Therefore, it is indispensable to scale up the
technology to neighbor and others watershed with similar agro
Regarding usage of improved seeds, more farmers in the
watershed were used an improved variety (82.5%) than local
varieties (17.5%), while inversely farmers outside the watershed
were used more local variety (42.4%) and less improved variety
(57.6%). This clearly contributed for improved crop yields in the
watershed as compared to farmers outside the watershed. The
livestock holding for the experimental group is showed increment
by 4.7 mean difference, while for control group 0.72 as compared
to base year. Socioeconomic related factors of both farmers of the
watershed and outside of the watershed were shown improvement
as compared to base year. However, higher mean was recorded for
the experimental group than control group as described in .
The long-term monitoring of water flow discharge and
sediment losses from the catchment area of watershed have been
measured twice a day and taken additionally at raining time. As
the data summarized shown with trend analysis, generally the
discharge of water flow recorded at the watershed outlet had
showed increasing trends whereas sediment yield recorded
shown the decreasing manner from the initial years of the
project due to integrated watershed management interventions.
However, the rainfall amount that had been recoded doesn’t show
the difference within duration of interventions while it has been
oscillated. Flow discharge data taken within full years showed
increasing trend by 11.46% whereas sediment loss become shown
decreasing trend by 36.31%, this is due to integrated watershed
management especially physical and biological soil and water
As the table blow shown, there is a negative correlation/
relationship between year of interventions and the amount of
sediment loss. However, strong relationship between year of
interventions and flow discharge was observed due to soil erosion
decreased by increasing soil infiltration capacity that mean when
integrated watershed management interventions continued for
a year, the run-off volume enter watershed had decreased in the
watershed and the river base flow volumes become increased
while the sediment loss decreasing because those interventions
contributes to reduce the run-off velocity and reduce surface
runoff then gives a time to infiltration . After infiltration,
clean water generated as a spring and flows as a river constantly.
For this reasons the clean base flow of watershed, increasing
every year. The rainfall amount and discharge, rain fall amount
and sediment loss, flow discharge and sediment loss record the
positive relationship this effect for each other’s (Table 5).
The Somodo model watershed is characterized by different
land use types by cultivation land domination and less forested
area and receives high annual rainfall, these resulted to land
degradation due to soil erosion. To hinder these problems, several
integrated watershed management interventions have been
selected as well as implemented with capacitating the farmer’s
indigenous knowledge. After that, the evaluation of interventions
impact on socioeconomic and biophysical components of the
watershed has been identified by using watershed impact
assessment survey, field and laboratory soil plant analysis. The
effective and promising results which observed from assessment,
field observation and analysis of interventions are Soil erosion
were reduced, the watershed base flow volume has been
increased, the rate of soil acidification was retarded, soil fertility
status was improved, livestock breeds and feeding system have
improved, trend of traditional farming systems was transferred
to improved and modern system, and yield potential of the
watershed have increased. Generally, the watershed biophysical
and socioeconomic has improved. Therefore, it is better to scale
up the technology to the neighboring watershed and to similar
agro-ecology across the country to manage our natural resource
in sustainably, hence improve livelihood of the community.
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