Assessing indigenous knowledge on soil degradation indicators in Kamuli District
Kabali, Abdu Rahim
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In the recent past, Kamuli District has experienced significant land degradation, mainly resulting from population pressure and poor land use practices such as bush burning, wetland degradation, overgrazing, over-cultivation and deforestation in different parts of the district. The indicators of land degradation are currently evident in the most parts of the district creating need for improved land management at local levels. However, the local land degradation indicators used by farmers to determine the level of land degradation and their relationship with soil analysis results remain unknown. This study aimed to evaluate the indigenous knowledge of farmers on the land degradation indicators in Kisaikye parish, Kamuli district. The study involved acquisition of both qualitative data using a questionnaire and quantitative data from laboratory analysis. A pre-designed questionnaire was administered on a total of 30 farmers from the study area and soil samples were there after collected on the basis of land degradation indicators perceived by farmers. Sampling was done at a depth of 30cm and a total 27 soil samples were analysed for pH, EC, SOM, N, P, K, Ca, Na and texture. The study found that majority of the farmers were aware of the occurrence of land degradation in the study area. Land degradation indicators perceived by farmers included crop yields, plant indicators, presence of gullies and rills and soil compaction. The study also revealed that farmers perceive that land in some areas was less degraded than others and this is supported by the results from laboratory analysis. I divided the study area into different sites basing on land scape which were site A, B and C. The results obtained from soil analysis indicated that soils in site C of the study area had significantly higher pH, SOM, P, N, K and Ca compared to soils in site A and B. The study revealed that local indicators of land degradation were correlated with soils analysis results except for indicator plants that were existing in both poor and good land as perceived by the farmers.