Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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ZBELO Tesfamariam, Ghent University, Mekelle University
Jan NYSSEN, Ghent University
TESFAALEM Ghebreyohannes, Mekelle University
AMANUEL Zenebe, Mekelle University
KELEMEWORK Tafere, Mekelle University
Veerle VAN EETVELDE, Ghent University

Landscapes have undergone significant changes over the past decades. Several researchers have studied the causes of such changes and identified political, economic, natural, geographical and social factors amongst the major driving forces. However, less attention has been given to quantifying the degree of importance of each of the factors identified. The purpose of this study was therefore to identify the forces driving landscape dynamics and to quantify the degree of importance of each of them in Raya and Aba’ala grabens in Northern Ethiopia. Questionnaires with open response questions were developed and distributed to 65 randomly selected respondents of Raya and Aba’ala grabens in order to collect data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts, officials and residents of the grabens studied to identify the drivers. The preliminary results show that agricultural intensification has been increasing over time in Raya graben, mainly because of its fertile soil and conducive environment. 80% of the respondents in Raya graben reported that agricultural intensification has become a dominant driving force of landscape change in Raya graben. 55% of the respondents in Aba’ala graben confirmed that villageization, a recently introduced process of relocating and grouping scattered farming communities into small village clusters, is the dominant driving force of landscape dynamics in the graben. Overall, there are spatio-temporal dynamics driving landscape dynamics in the marginal grabens of Northern Ethiopia.