The use of drainage furrows and its implication for gully development in Lake Tana basin, Ethiopia
Earth and related Environmental sciences
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Sloping farmland is susceptible to erosion induced by high rainfall, seasonal soil saturation and the construction of drainage furrows. Human-made soil drainage has a range of benefits for the farmer s land. However, researchers are still divided about the balance of the positive and negative effects which can be both on-site and off-site. A case study area was chosen around Wanzaye (North Ethiopia) where three different cropland-management practices were studied in 75 catchments: (i) the catchment-wide use of stone bunds on the contour, (ii) the use of slightly sloping drainage furrows (feses), and (iii) the combined use of stone bunds and feses. A standardized procedure for topographical threshold analysis was applied to study the impact of different land management practices on gully head development in cropland. Topographical thresholds for gully head development reflect the vulnerability of lands to gullying, i.e. s > kA-b, where s represents slope gradient of the soil surface, A the drainage area at the gully head, b an exponent, and k the resistance of the land to gully head development. The lowest k-values are found for feses catchments, which implies that catchments with the exclusive use of drainage ditches are the most vulnerable to gully head development compared to mixed catchments and stone bund catchments. Yet, on-site sheet and rill erosion are reduced by the use of feses as they reduce the runoff gradient.
CitationMonsieurs, E.; Nyssen, J.; Verhoest, N.; Dessie, M.; Adgo, E.; Deckers, J.; Poesen, J. (2014). The use of drainage furrows and its implication for gully development in Lake Tana basin, Ethiopia. , 8th symposium of Ghent Africa Platform,