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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Ecological Modelling - Prof. Dr. Michael Hauhs

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Master Thesis

Modeling soil erosion in home gardens at Mount Kilimanjaro with the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)

Johannes Vogel (07/2017-03/2018)

Support: Christina Bogner, Sebastian Arnhold

Soil erosion is a global driver of land degradation and desertification and therefore a major challenge for sustainable and efficient agriculture. Human activities such as agriculture contribute approximately 60% of the global soil erosion, which points out the necessity for a sustainable management regarding the rising food demand due to population increases to maintain food security in the long term. This study puts the focus on soil erosion on Mt. Kilimanjaro and in particular on its complex multistorey agroforestry systems. The effect of agricultural management practices on soil erosion under climate change are not known yet and modelling of erosion processes can help to fill this gap to identify soil conservation strategies for stakeholders.

For this purpose, a model for soil erosion will be implemented in SWAT+, which allows to simulate plant communities. The aims of this work are (i) to assess the suitability of SWAT+ for simulating hydrological and pedological processes in agroforestry systems, (ii) identify sustainable management strategies within the agroforestry systems and (iii) evaluate potential effects of future climate and land use change on soil erosion rates.

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