A Review on Soil Carbon Sequestration in Ethiopia to Mitigate Land Degradation and Climate Change

Abebe Shiferaw, Hans Hurni, Gete Zeleke


Land degradation in Ethiopia leads, inter alia, to a decline in soil quality and depletion of soil organic carbon (SOC). Sequestration of SOC, in turn, is a practical option not only to increase the SOC stock and quality, but also to decrease soil degradation, increase productivity, and mitigate climate change. The objective of this review is to show gaps and priorities in research and development related to SOC sequestration in Ethiopia. The review focuses at the SOC pool, distribution, its relation with degradation, progress achieved and future direction in SOC sequestration.

The review shows that land degradation in Ethiopia also implies a historic loss of the SOC pool. A preliminary estimate in this study shows that the SOC pool in Ethiopia is 14 billion tons of C. Reviewed figures ( from plot to large scale study) implied erosion-induced SOC depletion values from 0.02 to 0.97 tonnes/ha/yr. Accelerated carbon depletion ( in both biomass and soils) occurs on an estimated 0.2 million ha of forest land and on 8 million ha of croplands in two cropping seasons. Review of eight year Ministry of Agriculture report shows that the current national estimate of SOC building practices, sustainable land management, is covering about 2 million ha per year, with an investment of 150 million USD/yr. In spite of such development efforts in natural resources management since the mid-1970s, still about 50 million ha of land has depleted SOC. Based on the review, the paper outlines research and development priorities and recommends establishing carbon network and linking SOC financing with efforts to mitigate land degradation and climate change.

Key words: Climate Change, Ethiopia, Soil, Carbon Sequestration.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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