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HUMAN-MADE LANDSCAPES OF MANAGED FERTILITY, CROPPING AND AGROFORESTRY: THE CASE OF MALO FARMERS IN SOUTHWEST ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 1206-05]
The Malo are Omotic-speaking farmers with a population of approximately 60,000–80,000. They inhabit a steep mountainous area in the middle of Southwest Ethiopia. Throughout the area, we find a characteristic pattern of landscapes; scattered dots of enset groves centered on individual homes (kettsa). Enset (uutsa), a local and prominent staple crop, is planted in kara kale, a home garden where soil fertility is carefully maintained by manuring and a mixed cropping polyculture of vegetables, pulses, spices, and fruits dominates. In the home garden, Lloyd, wild seedlings of various tree species are tended and transplanted for house construction, firewood, etc. Outside the home garden are large outlying fields (gade) where soil fertility is managed not by manuring but by short or long fallowing and a monoculture of cereal crops such as barley, wheat, maize, sorghum and teff is the norm. It needs to be mentioned that this characteristic landscape is created and maintained by the people’s daily farming activities. Although their farming system of differential management of soil fertility and cropping may be quite labor-intensive, it is considered to be highly resilient to unseasonal weather and recent climate change.