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Assessing soil and land health across two landscapes in eastern Rwanda to inform restoration activities

Winowieck, Leigh Ann and Bargues Tobella, Aida and Mukuralinda, Athanase and Mujawamariya, Providence and Ntawuhiganayo, Elisée Bahati and Mugayi, Alex Billy and Chomba, Susan and Vågen, Tor-Gunnar (2021). Assessing soil and land health across two landscapes in eastern Rwanda to inform restoration activities. Soil. 7 , 767–783
[Research article]

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Abstract

Land degradation negatively impacts water, food, and nutrition security and is leading to increased competition for resources. While landscape restoration has the potential to restore ecosystem function, understanding the drivers of degradation is critical for prioritizing and tracking interventions. We sampled 300–1000 m2 plots using the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework across Nyagatare and Kayonza districts in Rwanda to assess key soil and land health indicators, including soil organic carbon (SOC), erosion prevalence, vegetation structure and infiltration capacity, and their interactions. SOC content decreased with increasing sand content across both sites and sampling depths and was lowest in croplands and grasslands compared to shrublands and woodlands. Stable carbon isotope values (δ13C) ranged from −15.35 ‰ to −21.34 ‰, indicating a wide range of historic and current plant communities with both C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways. Field-saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs) was modeled, with a median of 76 mm h−1 in Kayonza and 62 mm h−1 in Nyagatare, respectively. Topsoil OC had a positive effect on Kfs, whereas pH, sand, and erosion had negative effects. Soil erosion was highest in plots classified as woodland and shrubland. Maps of soil erosion and SOC at 30 m resolution were produced with high accuracy and showed strong variability across the study landscapes. These data demonstrate the importance of assessing multiple biophysical properties in order to assess land degradation, including the spatial patterns of soil and land health indicators across the landscape. By understanding the dynamics of land degradation and interactions between biophysical indicators, we can better prioritize interventions that result in multiple benefits as well as assess the impacts of restoration options.

Authors/Creators:Winowieck, Leigh Ann and Bargues Tobella, Aida and Mukuralinda, Athanase and Mujawamariya, Providence and Ntawuhiganayo, Elisée Bahati and Mugayi, Alex Billy and Chomba, Susan and Vågen, Tor-Gunnar
Title:Assessing soil and land health across two landscapes in eastern Rwanda to inform restoration activities
Series Name/Journal:Soil
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:7
Page range:767–783
Number of Pages:17
ISSN:2199-3971
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-114439
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-114439
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.5194/soil-7-767-2021
ID Code:26233
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:29 Nov 2021 12:27
Metadata Last Modified:29 Nov 2021 12:31

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