Assessment of soil erosion risk and its implications on the people’s livelihoods in Manafwa catchment
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Erosion has consistently impacted on the livelihoods of people who live in rural catchments communities including those in upper Manafwa catchment in Mt Elgon. The study investigated the soil erosion risk and its implications on the people’s livelihoods in Manafwa Catchment. The objectives of the study were; (i) To map the erosion risk in the Manafwa catchment area, (ii) To analyze the implication of soil erosion on the livelihood of people in the Manafwa catchment area, (iii) To examine the existing coping strategies to soil erosion in the Manafwa catchment area/ Mitigation measures. The study employed a hybrid of data acquisition methods including primary data collection surveys using questionnaire interviews and secondary data using GIS digital elevation model (DEM). The analysis was done using descriptive statistics of the SPSS 23 and terrain based analysis using the spatial analyst tools in ArcGIS. The erosion susceptibility derived through the operation of weighted overlay of the criterion erosion factors selected for this study. Results indicate moderate (26%) to high (2%)) erosion risk in the area. Soil erosion significantly impacted natural capital (M=4, ∑score=300), followed by human capital (M=3.9, ∑score=241), and welfare (M=4, ∑score=240), reduced soil fertility and increased degradation, reduced grazing area, limited food availability and limited food accessibility, meeting education and health services was hard among others. Moderate impact was recorded on the financial (M=3,9 ∑score=287),, social(M=1.2, ∑score=83), and physical capital (M=3.6, ∑score=240), assets where occurrence of soil erosion moderate. The most effective coping strategy was erosion as per the attained values, contour farming, ground cover cropping and crop rotation were effective coping strategies. There was no ineffective strategy amongst all these that were adopted since each one controlled erosion in one way or the other. The study recommends for increased of sustainable agronomic practices such as terracing, use of cover crops in areas especially the mid upper catchment.