In Tigray, Ethiopia, land degradation is a dominant environmental problem and hence the regional government has undertaken restoration measures on degraded soils since 1991. The present study was aimed to assess the impact of land uses and soil management practices on soil properties, and consequently on soil quality of degraded soils. The catchments selected were Maileba and Gum Selassa, and land uses included cultivated (CL), grazing (GL), plantation (PA) and area exclosure (AE). Replicated soil samples were collected from topsoil and profiles of four land-use types in both catchments. Soils in area exclosure showed higher soil organic carbon (SOC), total N and extractable K than grazing land, cultivated land and plantation area mainly at 0–40 cm soil depth. Estimated soil organic carbon stock at Maileba in 0–40 cm depth varied between 54 to 74 Mg C ha⁻¹, being lowest in cultivated land and highest in area exclosure, and the soil organic carbon stock in area exclosure represents 63% of total carbon stock stored in the profile. Soil organic carbon stock (0–40 cm) at Gum Selassa ranged between 33 to 38 Mg C ha⁻¹, being higher in cultivated land and lower in plantation area. Soil quality index (SQI) of area exclosure (0.794) at Maileba and cultivated land (0.721) at Gum Selassa scored highest among all land uses, and the order was area exclosure>grazing land>plantation area>cultivated land at Maileba and cultivated land>grazing land>plantation area at Gum Selassa, highlighting the effectiveness of area exclosure in restoring soil quality of degraded soils.
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