Land preservation uptakes in the escarpments of north-eastern Ethiopia: Drivers, sustainability, and constraints

B.T. Tessema*, M. Lengoiboni, J. Zevenbergen, Belay Simane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


Agricultural land is an indispensable resource for agrarian communities worldwide. There is a growing awareness that the world’s arable land supplies are limited and finite. For the
last five decades, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and other development organisations have carried out land preservation uptakes intended to curb the effects of land degradation and improve agricultural productivity through various soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs). The study assessed the sustainability, drivers, and constraints of SWCPs in Dessie Zuria and Kutaber Woredas of South Wollo. We used the exploratory case study approach, involving qualitative and quantitative methods. Catastrophic weather conditions, the presence of the soil and water conservation program, and declining soil fertility were the top drivers influencing the program’s implementation. Based on the identified farm-level indicators and views of the respondents, physical measures were more sustainable than biological and mixed methods. The prominent factors hurdling the intervention were lack of tenure security, risk of rodent infestation, and losing a sense of ownership. Training community members on the importance of land preservation, amending the existing rigid land tenure policy, incorporating indigenous SWCPs, broadening the scale and extent of community participation, and enforcing laws and bylaws are recommended for the upcoming interventions. The finding has implications for land preservation and food security actors working to scale up evidence-based sustainable land management practices to the broader area.
Original languageEnglish
Article number676
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2022


  • Land preservation
  • Sustainability
  • Drivers
  • Constraints
  • Tenure security
  • Dessie Zurai
  • Kutaber
  • Community participation

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