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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ; 1992; 423 pages)
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts On Traditional Land-Use Systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on farming systems research and development
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close this folderAbstracts on erosion and desertification control
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Indigenous soil and water conservation in Africa.
View the document2. Sustainable uses for steep slopes.
View the document3. Land restoration and revegetation.
View the document4. Economic analysis of soil erosion effects in alley cropping, no-till, and bush fallow systems in southwestern Nigeria.
View the document5. Soil conservation and management in developing countries.
View the document6. Guidelines: land evaluation for rainfed agriculture.
View the document7. Small-grain equivalent of mixed vegetation for wind erosion control and prediction.
View the document8. A method for farmer-participatory research and technology transfer: upland soil conservation in the Philippines.
View the document9. African bean-based cropping systems conserve soil.
View the document10. Refining soil conservation strategies in the mountain environment: the climatic factor.
View the document11. Conservation tillage for sustainable crop production systems.
View the document12. Caring for the land of the usambaras - a guide to preserving the environment through agriculture, agroforestry and zero grazing.
View the document13. Vetiver grass (vetiveria zizanioides) - a method of vegetative soil and moisture conservation.
View the document14. Erosion in andean hillside farming.
View the document15. Conservation tillage systems.
View the document16. Soil erosion, water runoff and their control on steep slopes in Sumatra.
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on potential crops for marginal lands

16. Soil erosion, water runoff and their control on steep slopes in Sumatra.

Trop. Agric. (Trinidad), 68, No. 4, 1991, pp. 321-324

In this paper soil erosion research and water runoff rates under conventional cultivation (i.e., without soil conservation practices) and when several soil conservation measures were used on steep, intensively-cultivated slopes in Sumatra, Indonesia are examined.

Erosion-inducted effects on selected soil physical and chemical properties and on crop yields were also examined. Based on these results, recommendations were developed for the introduction of appropriate soil conservation measures.

This study was conducted in the highland valley of Kerinci, Sumatra, Indonesia. Irrigated rice cultivation is the dominant land use in the valley; annual and perennial cash crops are cultivated on the hills above the valley floor. Most farmers in Kerinci cultivate both a rice field and one or more hillside farms.

Soils in Kerinci are complex red-yellow podzolics.

Soil erosion and water runoff losses associated with conventional and conservation farming practices were measured on enclosed runoff plots, using a randomized complete block design with three replications.

Five practices (treatments) were selected for study:


- control by conventional cultivation (corn planted two seeds per hole at 75 cm intervals) with no soil conservation measures employed;

- conventional cultivation at increased planting density (corn planted one seed per hole at 25 cm intervals) and NPK fertilizer application (groundnut, with 100 kg TSP ha-1 and 50 kg KCl ha-1; corn, with 100 kg urea ha-1, 100 kg TSP ha-1 and 50 kg KCl ha 1);

- level bench terraces, with three terraces per 10 m plot, risers 75 cm tall and planted to Setaria sp. grass at 30 cm intervals;

- grass contour bunds, with three bunds per plot, each 15 cm tall and planted to double rows of Setaria sp. at 30 cm spacing; and

- grass and Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Griseb. (an N- fixing leguminous tree) contour bunds with mulch, two bunds per plot, each 15 cm tall and planted to one row of Setaria sp. and one row of G. sepium, each at 30 cm intervals. Mulch cover was maintained at approximately 50% ground cover by periodically adding G. sepium leaves following an initial application of 0.5kg m-2 (5000 kg ha-1).

A variety of soil conservation practices are used on small farms throughout the tropics. Some of the more common practices include: contour ploughing, conservation tillage, the use of cover crops and mulches, grass and leguminous shrub plantings along the contour, grassed runoff channels, contour bunds, ditches and bench terraces.

Agronomic soil conservation techniques are generally preferred to engineering methods (e.g., bench terraces) by low-income or subsistence farmers because of lower capital and labour requirements. The construction of bench terraces can result in reducing crop yields where shallow topsoils overlie undesirable subsoils.

In this study, the use of bench terraces, grass bunds and grass plus Gliricidia sepium bunds with mulch resulted in significant (P<0.05) reductions in soil loss and water runoff in comparison with conventional cultivation methods on steep hillside farms in Sumatra. No significant differences in soil erosion rates were observed between conservation treatments.

No significant differences in mean groundnut yields and total above ground biomass production were observed between the conservation or control treatments (on a per plant basis).

This research suggests that agronomic soil conservation practices known to be effective on gentle (less than 15%) slopes may also be suited to some steep tropical slopes. Simple agronomic conservation farming measures warrant careful consideration and empirical field-testing in soil conservation and watershed management projects throughout the tropics.

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