The experiment was conducted on abandoned agricultural land at Bena-Tsemay District, Southern Ethiopia. It was designed to evaluate legume shrubs growth performance, and its potential for soil fertility enhancement through improved fallow practice. The results of current study showed that growth performance of legume species reveals variation in different growth parameters. Mean height of Sesbania sesban was significantly higher than the other species except Senna siamea. Senna siamea recorded the highest mean stem diameter followed by Sesbania sesban, 3.47cm and 2.86cm, respectively. Legume shrub species for soil fertility enhancement under improved fallow showed an increase in soil pH, organic carbon, organic matter, phosphorus level, available potassium and total nitrogen during the growth period. Sesbania provides large amount of nitrogen (2.91 t ha-1) within two years fallow period, linked with the carbon to nitrogen ratio (11.22) having better mineralization potential. Growing of promising legume shrub species as an improved fallow practice has important contribution in the restoration process of abandoned agricultural land and used as an option to grow crops in rotational cropping system.
Keywords: Agroforestry, leafy biomass, rehabilitation practices, shrub species