THE ROLE OF SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN WATERSHED MANAGEMENT IN KIDAYA NGERENYI, TAITA TAVETA COUNTY, KENYA

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Date
2017-07-14
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Pwani University
Abstract
Watershed protection provides an integrated framework of management systems whichseek to protect multiple natural resources including forests, water and soil. An in-depthunderstanding on resource characteristics of individual watershed ecosystems isnecessary to guide decision making in sustainable watershed management. This researchwas conducted at Kidaya Ngerenyi watershed in Taita Taveta County. The primaryobjective was to determine the role of Sustainable Land Management Practices inpromoting watershed protection through soil health indicator analysis. Essentialinformation on watershed management was obtained by conducting semi structuredinterviews on 15 key informants and 72 land users. A total of 40 soil samples werecollected from different management practices across the watershed and analyzed forvarious potential soil health indicators. The strata of the study included: upper, mid andlower zones under management practices as well as cultivated and protected vegetativebuffer strips and forests in the watershed. Descriptive statistics were used to analyzeadoption and non-adoption of the Sustainable Land Management practices usingMicrosoft Excel. Analysis of Variance was used to compare soil health indicators underSustainable Land Management Practices between the three zones of the watershed at 5% level of significance. Two sample t-test was used to compare soil health betweenprotected and cultivated sites of the buffer protection practices at 5 % level ofsignificance. Results showed that Sustainable Land Management Practices are mainlyimplemented to boost agricultural production and not to meet watershed objectives. Themost common Sustainable Land management Practices implemented across thewatershed include integrated soil fertility management and cross slope barriers. Resultsfrom laboratory soil analysis showed no significant difference in soil pH and particledistribution between the zones with p values of 0.43 and 0.538, respectively. However,vithere was a significant variation (p = 0.001) in the soil organic carbon (%) among theupper, mid and lower zones with a mean of 4.1, 2.8 and 2.5, respectively. This wasattributed to the spillover of organic matter through litter carried by runoff from forestsalong the ridges which was often trapped by the cross slope barriers put in place.Infiltration rate decreased towards the lower zones of the watershed with a significantdifference (p = 0.008). There was no significant difference observed in soil healthindicators between protected and cultivated buffer management practices. This studydemonstrates that, land users need to focus on long term goals of managing landssustainably to protect the soil’s and watershed’s integrity at large
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