Indigenous Knowledge Practices in Soil Conservation at Konso People, South western Ethiopia
Yeshambel Mulat

Indigenous knowledge in soil conservation practices is common in many indigenous peoples of the world. Thus, it is common to see different forms of soil conservation practices across the various indigenous societies and peoples of Africa where by Ethiopia is part and parcel. Among the many indigenous ethnic groups in Ethiopia having the best experience and worldly known knowledge of indigenous soil conservation is the one in the Konso people. It is known that Ethiopia is a nation regarded as the roof of Eastern African countries and there by water tower of the region. Hence the many areas of the country’s top soil is under sever condition of erosion however the Konso people have a very deep indigenous soil conservation mechanisms which enable them to save the soil from erosion. The knowledge of the Konso people in soil conservation is exceptional and considered as the best experience in the world and registered in UNESCO. This study is about indigenous knowledge in soil conservation mechanisms at Konso people, South Western Ethiopia. Some of these knowledges are the culture of terracing, crop rotation, mulching, agro forestry and others. The main objective of the study is to explore the indigenous soil conservation mechanisms of the Konso people and to propose ways for maintaining this useful knowledge for sustainable environmental management. In this study, both primary and secondary data collection techniques were used. This includes interviews, focus group discussions, observations, document analysis and other data sources. The finding of the study shows that the indigenous soil conservation mechanisms in the community is developed over a very long period of time and basically tested its efficiency and become their survival strategies with change of climate. Moreover, the Konso people have a very deep indigenous knowledge on soil conservation mechanisms which are deeply embodied in their culture. The community justifies their knowledge by giving ritual meaning and as part of their lives. In contrast to this, lack of fully fledged security of land tenure by the government side remained as a challenge for the community. In fact, mechanisms should be sought either by governmental or nongovernmental organs for further development of this knowledge. Therefore, the indigenous soil conservation mechanisms of the Konso people provide an excellent base on which the government should design appropriate soil conservation mechanisms.

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