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Bates College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


This study examined soil conservation in Kizanda Village which is in the Lushoto District, Tanga Region in the West Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. In Tanzania, and more specifically, the rural montane area, agriculture is an important part of both social and economic development. Due to a reported high rate of land degradation in Tanzania, this development is threatened though the lack of soil conservation. This study conducted structured interviews with farmers in Kizanda through snowball sampling to collect information about local agricultural practices and farmers’ perceptions on soil conservation issues. Soil samples were then collected from the corresponding farms (n= 63) and tea plantations (n=24) as well as within Mazumbai Forest Reserve (n=18) - a nearby privately protected ‘pristine forest’. The soil quality of each sample was determined through the moisture content, soil organic matter content, sand to silt/clay ratio, and pH. Data was collected between November 7th and November 27th in 2019. It was found that 66% of farmers interviewed reported decreasing crop yields on their farms, 48% reported a decrease in soil quality, and 28% reported soil erosion as an issue on their respective farms. These responses highlighted soil conservation as an issue in Kizadna. Through an All Pairs Tukey HSD statistical test in JMP Pro, it was determined that soil in the uncultivated Mazumbai Forest Reserve on average had higher moisture contents than the soil from the cultivated farms and tea plantations. In addition, it was determined that samples from tilled farms had a lower quality (lower soil organic matter content and higher sand content) than samples from untilled farms. Similarly, samples taken near the cover crop mshai had higher organic matter contents than samples near no cover crop. Thus it is recommended to use mshai as a cover crop and no till farming in order to conserve soil quality.


African Studies | Agriculture | Biodiversity | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Forest Sciences | Plant Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Soil Science


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