Central roles of livestock and land-use in soil fertility of traditional homegardens on Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Yuri IchinoseEmail author
  • Tomohiro Nishigaki
  • Method Kilasara
  • Shinya Funakawa


On the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, homegardens with banana-coffee cultivation have been managed using livestock dung for more than 100 years. However, there are few studies which quantitatively evaluated the effect of farmers’ practice such as the application of livestock dung on soil fertility of homegardens. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of livestock keeping and land-uses (banana cultivation, maize cultivation, and grassland) in the homegardens on soil carbon and nutrients throughout the soil profile. Soil samples from five layers (0–5, 5–20, 20–35, 35–50 and 50–65-cm depth) were collected from six households with different livestock density, and in three different land-uses in one household, respectively. Livestock density positively correlated with soil carbon and nitrogen in the sub-surface layers, and with soil pH, available phosphorus, total exchangeable bases, and cation exchange capacity throughout the soil profile. These results indicated that livestock density significantly controlled the soil fertility of homegardens. Our results also revealed that the land with banana cultivation had the highest soil carbon and nutrients in both the shallow and the deep layers amongst the three land-uses in homegardens. This could be attributed to the traditional land management for banana cultivation with intensive livestock dung application up to the deeper layer. Thus, we concluded that livestock keeping and the intensive application of livestock dung throughout the soil profile for banana cultivation are the crucial land management practices to maintain soil fertility in the homegardens of Mt. Kilimanjaro.


Soil carbon Soil nutrient Livestock dung Homegarden Agroforestry Land management 



We would like to thank the people in the Kilema kaskazini ward for their all kindness during our research. We thank Professor E. Marwa, and the staff of Sokoine University of Agriculture for their support in Tanzania. We also thank Dr. Hitoshi Shinjo and Mr. Ajay Kumar Mishra, Kyoto University, for valuable feedback and suggestions in the course of analysis and writing. We are also deeply indebted to two anonymous reviewers for improving our manuscript. This research was supported by Grants from Kyoto University Foundation and Grants-in-aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) Nos. 24228007 and 17H06171.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Global Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)IbarakiJapan
  3. 3.College of AgricultureSokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania
  4. 4.Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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