Journal cover Journal topic
SOIL An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2017-10
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Original research article
29 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL).
Local soil quality assessment of north-central Namibia: integrating farmers' and technical knowledge
Brice Prudat, Lena Bloemertz, and Nikolaus J. Kuhn Physical Geography and Environmental Change, University of Basel, Basel, 4000, Switzerland
Abstract. Soil degradation is a major threat for farmers of semi-arid north-central Namibia. Soil conservation practices can be promoted by the development of soil quality (SQ) evaluation toolboxes that provide ways to evaluate soil degradation. However, such toolboxes must be adapted to local conditions to reach farmers. Based on qualitative (interviews and soil descriptions) and quantitative (laboratory analyses) data, we developed a set of SQ indicators relevant for our study area that integrate farmers' field experiences (FFE) and technical knowledge. We suggest using participatory mapping to delineate soil units (Oshikwanyama Soil Units, KwSUs) based on FFE, which highlight mostly soil properties that integrate long-term productivity and soil hydrological characteristics (i.e. internal SQ). The actual SQ of a location depends on the KwSU described and is thereafter assessed by field soil texture evaluation (i.e. chemical fertility potential) and by soil colour shade (i.e. SOC status). The resulting information includes internal SQ (KwSU), chemical fertility potential (sand content) and the soil organic carbon content status (colour shade). This three-level information reveals SQ improvement potential and aims to help farmers, rural development planners and researchers from all fields of studies understanding SQ issues in north-central Namibia. This SQ toolbox is adapted to a restricted area of north-central Namibia but similar tools could be developed in most areas where small-scale agriculture prevails.

Citation: Prudat, B., Bloemertz, L., and Kuhn, N. J.: Local soil quality assessment of north-central Namibia: integrating farmers' and technical knowledge, SOIL Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2017-10, in review, 2017.
Brice Prudat et al.
Brice Prudat et al.
Brice Prudat et al.

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Short summary
Soil degradation is a major threat for farmers of semi-arid north-central Namibia. Having tools to assess soil quality is important to evaluate soil conditions and help targeting important issues. We developed a soil evaluation toolbox that integrates farmers' field experiences and technical knowledge. The combination of local soil descriptions, field soil texture evaluation and soil colour provides locally meaningful information that reveals soil quality improvement potentials.
Soil degradation is a major threat for farmers of semi-arid north-central Namibia. Having tools...
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