Published for the British Society of Soil Science by Blackwell Scientific Publications
Soil Use and Management vol:28 issue:1 pages:113-119
Accelerated soil erosion leads to sedimentation in reservoirs and a decline in their life span. As many
reservoirs in northern Ethiopia are dry at the end of the dry season, we were able to evaluate the potential of using reservoir sediments for land reclamation. Stripped land from which construction material for the reservoirs had been excavated was covered with 0, 15 and 30 cm of sediment and planted with a local garlic cultivar (Allium sativum). The applied reservoir sediments had low to medium organic C and total N contents and were high in available P and exchangeable cations. The yield of garlic increased with additional available water and the application of sediments. The results show that total biomass and bulb yield were three times higher on the reclaimed plots than on the control ones (11.7 t ⁄ ha vs. 3.6 t ⁄ ha for the biomass; 7.7 t ⁄ ha vs. 2.0 t ⁄ ha for the yield). When sediment transport and labour costs were taken into account, plots with 15 cm of sediments had in the first
cropping season a cost-benefit ratio of 3, whilst those with 30 cm had a cost-benefit ratio of 0.9. This study demonstrates that the use of relatively small quantities of reservoir sediments is an economically viable strategy for land reclamation. The result can be improvement in income for resource-poor farmers by as much as 76%, and the life expectancy of the reservoirs is also increased.