Farmers in Ethiopia have traditionally practiced agroforestry to improve soil fertility. Yet, there is a paucity of information on the effects of scattered trees in farmlands on soil fertility. The study aimed to investigate whether scattered Faidherbia albida trees in farmers’ land in the Kenna District, Konso Zone, southern Ethiopia, affect soil properties. We selected three farmlands, and in each farmland, we designated three F. albida trees for the study. We then sampled mineral soils under each tree at four specified radial distances and two soil depths and pooled them by distance and depth for the determination of soil properties. Our results overall revealed that the soil TN, AP, pH, CEC, and SOC were higher at the nearest distance to F. albida than the furthest and similarly at the upper than the lower soil depths. The bulk density nonetheless was higher at the farthest than under the tree canopy while soil texture was overall not affected. We conclude that scattered F. albida trees in agricultural fields can positively affect soil properties and improve fertility. Yet, future studies should address functional linkages between trees and soil to better understand plant-soil interaction in agroforestry.
Keywords: Agroforestry, Faidherbia albida, farmers’ land, Konso, scattered trees, soil properties