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Trashlines [Ethiopia]

Mona (Konso), Setera (Amharic)

technologies_1387 - Ethiopia

Completeness: 59%

1. General information

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Agronomic/structural measure using straw of maize and/or sorghum.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Trashlines are constructed seasonaly by the family members using maize and/or sorghum straws. It has multi purposes like water harvesting, soil trapping, soil fertility improvement, etc. It is common in gentle to steep slopes in semi-arid areas.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Southern region

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • more than 50 years ago (traditional)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • as part of a traditional system (> 50 years)
Comments (type of project, etc.):

According the farmers it is an indigenous technology past from generation to generation (ancestors).

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
  • Perennial (non-woody) cropping

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Rainfall shortage. Farm land shortage.

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Rainfall shortage. Crop/livestock diseases. Farm land shortage.

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 90 Longest growing period from month to month: Jul - Sep

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • cross-slope measure

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If the Technology is evenly spread over an area, indicate approximate area covered:
  • 1,000-10,000 km2

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 2000 m2.

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover

Main measures: agronomic measures

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
water degradation

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion, Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content, Ha: aridification

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: low

Technical knowledge required for land users: low

Main technical functions: increase of infiltration, increase / maintain water stored in soil, water harvesting / increase water supply

Secondary technical functions: reduction of slope angle, reduction of slope length, improvement of ground cover, increase in organic matter, improvement of soil structure

Construction material (other): Maize and/or sorghum straws

For water harvesting: the ratio between the area where the harvested water is applied and the total area from which water is collected is: 1:3

Vegetation is used for stabilisation of structures.

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


Indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (if relevant): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.4 Establishment activities

Activity Type of measure Timing
1. 1. Harvesting grain/cop Structural dry season
2. 2. Browsing leaves by livestock Structural dry season
3. 4. Layout of straw Structural dry season
4. 3. Cutting straw Structural dry season

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. Harvesting grain/cop Agronomic dry season / annual
2. Browsing leaves by livestock Agronomic dry season / annual
3. Cutting straw Agronomic dry season / annual
4. Layout of straw Agronomic dry season / annual
5. Realignement of straw after storms Structural dry season/as needed

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)


On gentle slope, spacing of 4 m between lines, average wealth of farmer.

4.8 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Competition with fodder and fuel wood.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is medium
Soil drainage/infiltration is good
Soil water storage capacity is high-medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
  • rich
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Population density: 50-100 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 2% - 3%
10% of the land users are rich and own 20% of the land (have additional sources of fodder / fuel wood).
30% of the land users are average wealthy and own 40% of the land.
60% of the land users are poor and own 40% of the land.
Off-farm income specification: Crafts, daily labourer
Level of mechanization is manual work (Hoe, sometimes oxen)

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • individual

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

surface runoff

Quantity before SLM:


Quantity after SLM:



soil loss

Quantity before SLM:


Quantity after SLM:


6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many have did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 90-100%

25000 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

Comments on spontaneous adoption: estimates

There is no trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Confined in the area due to other cultures (oxen plough) outside the area.

7. References and links

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Inventory of indigenous SWC measures on selected sites in the Ethiopian Highlands. SCRP Research Report 34. 1997.

Available from where? Costs?


Links and modules

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