Cactus Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica L.) a Valuable Crop for Restoration of Degraded Soils in Northern Ethiopia

Solomon Abera Bariagabre, Isaack K. Asante, Christopher Gordon, Ted Yemoh Ananng


Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) commonly referred to as cactus pear is a dicotyledonous angiosperm plant. It belongs to the Cactaceae family and is characterized by its remarkable adaptation to arid and semi-arid climates in tropical and subtropical regions of the globe. Opuntia species have developed phenological, physiological and structural adaptations for growth and survival in arid and semi-arid environments where severe water stress hinders the survival of other plant species. Among these adaptations, the asynchronous reproduction and CAM metabolism of cactus stands out, which combined with structural adaptations such as succulence, allow them to continue the assimilation of carbon dioxide during long periods of drought reaching acceptable productivity levels even in years of severe drought. In the present stud soil physical and chemical properties are considerably improved under the canopies of cactus pear compared to adjacent open areas. The generalized linear model showed that soil organic carbon, soil total nitrogen, soil available phosphorus, soil bulk density, soil moisture, and electric conductivity of soil samples were positively and significantly influenced by cactus pear canopy cover compared to adjacent open areas.

Keywords: Cactus pear, land degradation, restoration, physical property, chemical property, northern Ethiopia

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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