||Soil degradation is one of the most serious ecological and environmental problems in south of Benin.
Understanding farmers’ perceptions of soil degradation and its causes is important in promoting soil and water
conservation practices. The objective was to examine farmers’ perceptions, understanding and interpretation of
soil degradation factors and socioeconomic characteristics that influence these perceptions. A survey was
conducted in Allada, Aplahoué and Djidja districts, which had respectively the watersheds of Govié, Lokogba
and Linsinlin in southern Benin. The study was based on the data obtained from 427 sample households heads
using pre-tested structured interview schedule. The data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics and
frequencies with the chi-square test. The finding of the study shows that almost all farmers of the study area had
good perception on the causes, indicators and problems of soil degradation. Farmers explained soil degradation
as soil fertility depletion and soil erosion (soil loss). The main causes of soil erosion perceived by farmers were
slope, runoff, rain intensity and duration. According to the farmers, the soil fertility depletion is mainly caused
by deforestation, bushfires, continuous cropping, soil type and animal trampling. Several socioeconomic
characteristics influence significantly the farmers’ perceptions as gender, literacy, agricultural extension and/or
membership of farmers’ organization. The farmers’ perceptions vary significantly according to cropping systems,
therefore, from village to village, with their socioeconomic determinants.