Land changes is important to design sustainable land

Land
degradation has been the major economic, social and ecological threat in Ethiopia.
The imbalance between interlocking natural ecosystems and human social systems
are the main causes of land degradation (Suding
et al., 2015). Human-induced change in land use, deforestation
and associated processes, such as soil erosion and soil nutrient depletion have
been the leading factors for land degradation in Ethiopian highlands (Taddese,
2001;  Duguma et al., 2010;  Teferi et al., 2016).  

Different studies on
effect of land-use change reveal that conversion of natural forest into a simple
monoculture plantation and/or farmland have shown to affect the soil properties
(Lemenih
et al., 2004;  Chen et al., 2012;  Alem and Pavlis, 2014;  Assefa et al., 2017;  Guteta and Abegaz, 2017;  Negasa et al., 2017). These change in the soil properties
include loss of soil organic matter, increase bulk density, increase soil pH, decrease
in soil aggregate stability and base cations (Yimer
et al., 2008;  Gelaw et al., 2015;  Negasa et al., 2017). Similarly, findings on the restoration
of degraded lands (i.e. crop and/or grazing lands) through plantations and/or exclosures
improved soil organic matter, soil nutrient and increase regeneration of native
species (Lemenih
et al., 2004;  Teferi et al., 2016;  Abiyu et al., 2017;  Assefa et al., 2017). Moreover, Yimer
et al. (2008) indicated that the cation exchange
capacity (CEC) in the cropland reduced by 37.7%  compared to the native forest. Assefa
et al. (2017) reported aforestation of degraded
crop and grazing lands with eucalyptus increased 70% SOC.  stock within 30 years period. However, natural
forest in the highlands is isolated in
small patches around churches, monasteries and inaccessible hillsides (Wassie et al., 2005), as a result, no significant native forest to convert
into cropland and another type of land use in the highlands, particulary in
this study area.

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 Therefore, smallholder farmers are changing their croplands into eucalyptus
woodlots and communal grazing lands into exclosures due to degradetion and poor
production. However, landuse change and landscape positions have
associated effect on soil nutrientes. Thus, understanding the soil nutrient
status of these land uses and land management changes is important to design
sustainable land management options in relation to crop production, mitigating
land degradations and degraded land rehabilitation (Fu
et al., 2001;  Dessalegn et al.,
2014;  Teferi et al., 2016). The objective of this study was to
quantify the soil nutrients and effect of land use types, landscape position
and soil depth on soil nutrient status. 

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