Soil and Water Conservation in Sisal Explanation of the co-ordination of methods of contour planting and rail haulage

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It has been noted that in recent years a considerable amount of erosion has occurred in sisal lands in Kenya, especially where the sisal rows run directly up and down hill on slopes over 2 per cent approximately. This may be due to the fact that many sisal planters are now clean-weeding their sisal for two years or so after planting. In the past the sisal was only weeded sufficiently to ensure that the sisal plant was established and then grasses and weeds were permitted to grow undisturbed and in time "neglected forestry" conditions prevailed. This cover certainly prevented erosion, but now during the period that sisal is clean-weeded and the land is without cover, erosion may occur, especially when the cultivation has been done by an implement which tends to throw soil up against the plants and form a "channel" between rows. Run-off rapidly scours this channel when not on or near the contour, and it is frequently seen that over one foot of soil has been lost even on short slopes. Such losses must inevitably mean in time a decrease in plant quality and rate of growth, and increasing susceptibility to drought and disease.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal