Effect of Rhamnus prinoide (Gesho) Intercropping in Wheat Field on Soil Nutrient and Moisture in the Drylands of North Ethiopia
Rhamnus prinoide (Gesho) intercropping is a common practice with significant socioeconomic and ecological importance in Ganta-afoshum district. However, this practice is not well explored so far, especially from the perspective of its impact on sustainable land management while land degradation and low productivity is a challenge in the district. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of R. prinoide intercropping on soil nutrient and moisture. The study was conducted in Ganta-afoshum district, eastern zone of Tigray regional state where smallholder farmers practice R. prinoide intercropping. Soil samples were taken from farmland with dense, medium and sparse density of R. prinoide intercropping and from farmland without trees as a control for analysis. The density of the trees significantly affected the soil bulk density (P<0.05). Soil moisture content significantly increased with increasing soil depth and by the interaction effects of soil depth and density (P<0.05). Soil nitrogen concentration significantly influenced by the density and soil depth (P<0.05). Soil phosphorus and potassium concentration significantly affected by soil depth (P<0.05). Lower mean soil pH values were observed for soils under the farm with dense trees as compared to soils in open farm. Overall, the enhancing and exploitative effects of R. prinoide intercropping on soil nutrient and moisture is minimal. This could be the reason for being practiced and maintained by most farmers.
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