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[PANEL] 0607 LANDSCAPE CHANGE AND LAND USE CHANGE
Jan NYSSEN, Ghent University, Belgium
ETEFA Guyassa Dinssa, Department of Land Resources Management and Environmental Protection, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia
ZBELO Tesfamariam; Jan NYSSEN; DESSALEGN Dache Oulte; TESFAALEM G. Asfaha; MITIKU Haile;
BIADGILGN Demissie; Amaury FRANKL; HENOK Kassa
DRIVING FORCES OF LANDSCAPE CHANGE IN THE MARGINAL GRABENS OF NORTHERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0607-03]
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.
INTEGRATING NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY TO THE MILITARY MISSION: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN RECOGNIZING MILITARY LANDS AS ALTERNATIVE BIO DIVERSITY SANCTUARIES IN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0607-07]
It is uncommon among policy makers to consider the military and its operational areas in terms of biodiversity conservation, because of their association with the use of destructive weapons and large-scale manoeuvres. However, the study conducted at Tolay Military Training Center in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia shows that the military and its operational areas, especially training centers, demonstrate great potential for biodiversity conservation and natural resource management. This is because land managed by the military is usually protected from public access for security purposes. To explore whether environmental protection, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation are integrated into the role of the military, an exploratory and descriptive study was conducted at selected military sites. Data were collected through anthropological methods such as structured and unstructured questionnaires, interviews with military commanders and nearby civilian community leaders, and field observations. An important lesson of this research is that land administered by the military, especially large sites, provides a relative sanctuary for indigenous animal and plant species that are not found on other public land. This is because (1) military sites are usually protected from public access for security purposes and (2) inspired by the celebration of the 2nd Ethiopian millennium, the military undertakes planting, conservation and protection of biological diversity on its managed lands. The overall implication is that if this is recognised in policy and natural resource management is included into the military role national level, military sites can be alternative conservation areas and/or contribute to national conservation efforts. Despite these positives, however, military sites – like other public land – experience common environmental problems. These include the failure to incorporate the military into national environmental policy together with institutional deficiencies and increased human and livestock populations around military installations. Encroachment has contributed to deforestation, depletion of natural resources, fragmentation of training land, habitat destruction and biodiversity loss around the sites.
LONG-TERM LANDSCAPE CHANGES IN RELATION TO RAINFALL VARIABILITY AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN THE NORTHERN ETHIOPIAN HIGHLANDS [Abstract ID: 0607-06]
Landscape changes are important indicators of the nature of long term interactions between human activities and the natural environment. Many researchers have examined landscape dynamics in the northern Ethiopian highlands. However, most of them rarely address long term trajectories. Hence, this study was carried out in the northern Ethiopian highlands with the objective of examining long term landscape dynamics in relation to variability in natural resources management and rainfall. For this purpose, 11 steep (0.27-0.65 m m-1) mountain catchments were selected from the western Rift Valley escarpment of northern Ethiopia. Landscape change analysis was carried out using the aerial photos of 1936, 1965 and 1986 as well as Google Earth imageries of 2005, 2014 and 2017. Moreover, detailed field observations, focus group discussions and interviews with elderly people were carried out. The results indicate that in the 1940s, the proportion of woody vegetation cover was 65% while the size of crop land was 31%. In the 1960s and 1970s, the size of woody vegetation cover decreased to 48% while the size of cropland increased to 48%. Due to the reforestation interventions initiated as of the second half of the 1980s, forest cover increased from 9% in 1986 to 23% in 2005, 27% in 2014 and 29% 2017 while total woody vegetation cover increased from 52% in 1986 to 62% in 2005 and 2014 and 65% in 2017. On the other hand, the proportion of cropland decreased from 43% in 1986 to 31% in 2005, 31% in 2014 and 32% 2017. Moreover, seven hamlets and scattered settlements and fragmented farmlands which expanded to sloping parts of the catchments between the 1950s and first half of 1980s were abandoned after the second half of the 1980s. All in all this study reveals that changes in landscape in the study area were related to variability in land management practices in different periods and to rainfall variability.
STREAM DYNAMICS RELATED LAND CHANGES AND IMPLICATIONS TO LAND MANAGEMENT IN A MARGINAL GRABEN ALONG THE NORTHERN ETHIOPIAN RIFT VALLEY [Abstract ID: 0607-05]
Changes in land use are of primary concern in the development of dryland areas. This paper investigates changes in land use relating to river dynamics in northern Ethiopia. Aerial photographs from 1965 and 1986, and SPOT images from 2007 and 2014, were used to observe land units. Changes in land use had taken place in 48% of the entire landscape around the river in the last five decades. The most systematic transitions in terms of gain were from shrubland to farmland, alluvial deposit to settlement, and alluvial deposit to active channel and settlement. Most of these transitions were related to river dynamics and point to cyclic transitions: farmland – active channel – alluvial deposits – grassland/shrubland – farmland. Human intervention and natural vegetation succession were also very important. The findings of this study indicate that land management activities in graben bottoms should take into account both the role of natural river distributary systems in land changes and human activities related to the reclamation of land previously captured by rivers. Land management interventions such as soil and water conservation measures (both in upper catchments and graben bottom), flood control measures (such as gabion structures, levees and sand embankments) should take into account the behaviour and impact of river systems. Moreover, allowing the rivers to follow their natural course will help to ensure sustainable river related land management, and hence reduce the risk to Pharma livelihoods.
THE IMPACT OF SETTLEMENT HISTORY AND EXPANSION ON LANDSCAPE DYNAMICS IN NORTHERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0607-02]
Local communities change the natural landscapes in various ways. Such changes have long been studied by different researchers. However, the impact on natural landscapes of the development, expansion and relocation of settlements is not well known in environments where (i) the economic activities of communities change from pastoral to sedentary, (ii) investment increases steadily for the first time, and (iii) there is high population growth. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the impact of settlement evolution and expansion on the landscapes of the arid and semi-arid areas of Northern Ethiopia. Semi-structured interview and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were employed to collect data on the history and development of settlements and its impact on the landscapes and to obtain first-hand information about local landscape changes. Topographic mapping was used to delineate the study areas. Aerial photographs of the 1930s, 1964 and 1994; Google Earth Images of 2010 and 2017 were analyzed in a GIS environment to examine the impact of settlement expansion on landscapes. The findings of the study show that the evolution and expansion of new and existing settlements respectively have changed the landscape structure and pattern of the grabens. Moreover, large forest landscapes of Raya graben have become settlements. In addition, several bush and shrub lands have been converted into settlements and farmlands in Aba’ala graben, following the development and relocation of settlements. Such changes have also altered the function of the ecological mosaic of graben landscapes.
TRANSITION FROM FOREST-BASED TO CEREAL-BASED AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS: A REVIEW OF THE DRIVERS OF LAND USE CHANGE AND DEGRADATION IN SOUTHWEST ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0607-04]
The southwestern Ethiopian montane forests are one of the country’s most species-rich ecosystems, and are recognised globally as a priority area for biodiversity conservation. Here, we review changes to agricultural systems in and around these forests that are known as the “home of coffee” (Coffea arabica L.). The forests are important to the livelihoods of many rural people who have developed traditional management practices based on agro-ecological knowledge, religious taboos and customary tenure rights. We explored the impact of conversion to agroforestry and cereal-based cropping systems on biodiversity, soil fertility, soil loss and the socio-economic conditions and culture. The growing trend towards cereal cropping, resettlement and commercial agriculture is causing deterioration to the natural forest cover in the region and threatens biodiversity, land quality, sustainable traditional farming practices and the livelihood of the local community. Large-scale plantations of tea, coffee, soapberry – known locally as endod (Phytolacca dodecandra L'Hér.) – and cereals have resulted in biodiversity loss. Following the conversion of forests, cultivated fields exhibit a significant decline in soil fertility and an increase in soil loss as compared with the traditional agroforestry system. In order to achieve sustainable agriculture a change in paradigm will be required. The values of the traditional forest-based agricultural system should be recognised, rather than adopting agricultural policies that were developed for the open fields of central Ethiopia.