Stone faced soil bund of Tigray [Ethiopia]

Emni Getsu hamed zala

technologies_980 - Ethiopia

Completeness: 69%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:

Tesfaye Tadele

S/Samre office of Agriculture and Natural Resources


1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

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:

Stone walls placed downslope in an inclined manner having embankment of soil on upstream along the contour line having tieridge.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Description: Along the contour 30 cm width and 420 cm depth of foundation is excavated and stones are cplaced upto a height of 0.5-0.75 with 1 m width and 30 cm top width. On the uper side embankment soil is added and a basin with 5-10 m tie is excavated. Purpose: To reduce soil erosion, shorten slope length and retain soil moisture. Establishment/Maintenance: Integrate with biological SWC activities, Farmers maintain Environment: Enhance vegetation growth, improve micro-climate, decrease land degradation

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:


Further specification of location:



Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 327.53 km2.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

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



  • Annual cropping
  • Tree and shrub cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - barley
  • cereals - sorghum
  • legumes and pulses - beans
  • oilseed crops - sunflower, rapeseed, other
  • teff, horse bean
  • Leucanea, sasbanea
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 150 Longest growing period from month to month: Jul - Dec Second longest growing period in days: 120 Second longest growing period from month to month: Jun - Oct

Is intercropping practiced?


If yes, specify which crops are intercropped:

Teff and sun flower

Grazing land

Grazing land

  • Free grazing

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Soil erosion, deforestation, overgrazing, decline of fertility, low moisture holding capacity

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Low productivity, low rainfall, soil erosion, deforestation

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

Water supply: Also rainfed, mixed rainfed - irrigated

Water supply: post-flooding

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • cross-slope measure

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

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
  • Wg: gully erosion/ gullying
  • Wr: riverbank erosion

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion, Wg: gully erosion / gullying

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Wr: riverbank erosion

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • reduce land degradation

Secondary goals: rehabilitation / reclamation of denuded land

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: high

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: control of dispersed runoff: retain / trap, control of dispersed runoff: impede / retard, control of concentrated runoff: retain / trap, reduction of slope angle, reduction of slope length, increase of infiltration

Mixed cropping / intercropping
Material/ species: Teff and sun flower
Remarks: direct sowing

Aligned: -contour
Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs, G : grass
Number of plants per (ha): 1000/ha
Vertical interval between rows / strips / blocks (m): 1
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 15-20
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 0.5-1

Trees/ shrubs species: Leucanea, sasbanea

Grass species: local grasses

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 12.00%

If the original slope has changed as a result of the Technology, the slope today is (see figure below): 3.00%

Bund/ bank: level
Vertical interval between structures (m): 1
Spacing between structures (m): 60-80m
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.1m
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.5m
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 0.5-0.75mm
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 1m
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 60-80m

Construction material (earth): none clay and sandy soils

Construction material (stone): medium sized stone

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 12%

Vegetation is used for stabilisation of structures.

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Seedling production Dec-June
2. Pitting May
3. Planting July
4. Survey & layout January
5. Fundation excavation February-April
6. Stone collection February-April
7. Construction and digging the basin and put the soil at the upper side of the bund February-April
8. Forming farmers groups
9. Discussion among group members
10. Plan of activities
11. Implementation of measures
12. Guarding

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour ha 1.0 109.4 109.4 100.0
Equipment Tools ha 1.0 10.0 10.0 100.0
Plant material Seeds ha 1.0 9.4 9.4 100.0
Plant material Fertilizer ha 1.0 33.75 33.75 100.0
Other Person days ha 1.0 66.9 66.9 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 229.45
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 26.68

Duration of establishment phase: 60 month(s)

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Contour plowing April-may / 3 times
2. Enrichment planting August /annual
3. Weeding and cultivating September /annual
4. Stone collection January/annual
5. Construction January/annual
6. Planting/replanting
7. Implementing water harvesting measures

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

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour ha 1.0 10.9 10.9 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 10.9
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 1.27

Length of structure and number of seedlings

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

steep slope, transport for construction materials (stone), dry soils (land), shallow soils.

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
  • sub-humid
  • 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.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Altitudinal zone: 1000-2500 m a.s.l.
Landforms: Also mountain- and hill slopes
Slopes on average: Also hilly and moderate

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):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • 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 texture: Also medium (ranked 2) and fine/heavy (ranked 3)
Soil fertility is low-medium
Soil drainage/infiltration is good-poor
Soil water storage capacity is low-high

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • very poor
  • poor
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • animal traction
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Population density: 50-100 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 2% - 3%; 3%
80% of the land users are average wealthy and own 80% of the land.
15% of the land users are poor and own 15% of the land.
5% of the land users are poor and own 5% of the land.
Off-farm income specification: Employed as daily labourer for weeding, plowing and harvesting.
Market orientation is subsistence (the area is drought prone and production is very low)

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha

0.5-1ha for both grazing and cropland per household. Average land holding size is 0.5 ha

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

Land ownership:
  • state

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

200 kg

fodder production


fodder quality


wood production


production area

Comments/ specify:

Space taken by structure is small

land management

Income and costs

farm income


Socio-cultural impacts

community institutions


SLM/ land degradation knowledge


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

excess water drainage


soil moisture


soil cover


soil loss

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

pest/ disease control

Comments/ specify:

If proper placing of stone not followed

Other ecological impacts



Soil fertility


Enriching ground water


Risk of damage on properties if the structure breaks



Comments/ specify:

in clay soils during wet seasons it is high

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

reliable and stable stream flows in dry season


downstream flooding


downstream siltation

Comments/ specify:

decreasing siltation of dam and cultivated area

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

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


Long-term returns:


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

very positive

Long-term returns:


6.5 Adoption of the Technology

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

100% of land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

98328 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

There is a little trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Especially the maintenance of the structure is done by individuals holding the land

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Increase production

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Cut and carry, area closure, Integrating physical SWC measures with biological SWC measures.
Availability of water near byareas

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Water harvesting structures and practices
Animal feed increased

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Planting fodder trees and grasses
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
It conserves soil

How can they be sustained / enhanced? The work has to be continued in organized way.
It conserves moisture

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Include contour cultivation and other methods enhancing the soil moisture build up.
Increase production

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Integration of biological measures use of manure and other fertility improving measures.
Enhancing spring development

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Practice more water retaining measures upslopes

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
It reduces cultivated land Make the land productive by integrating with biological SWC measures, planting grass on the bund
It creates problem in farm activities Design the structure in such a way that it can not create problem for farming.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
It takes land By integrating with biological measures make the land productive.
In some places hinder farm operation Increase width of cultivable strips

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all