The Effect of Land Use Land Cover Change on Land Degradation in the Highlands of Ethiopia

Binyam Alemu


Land use and land cover change through inappropriate agricultural practices and high human and livestock population pressure have led to severe land degradation in the Ethiopian highlands. This has led to further degradation such as biodiversity loss, deforestation, soil erosion and soil quality. Agricultural and economic growth in Ethiopia is constrained by the deteriorating natural resource base, especially in the highlands where 80% of the population lives. This threat stems from the depletion and degradation of the vegetation cover of the country. Loss of biodiversity is associated with land use/land cover changes that are related to a range of biophysical and socio-economic drivers. The implications of these changes suggest that the land use/cover changes have skewed to the rampant conversion of areas once covered with vegetation to cultivation without adequate use of soil and water conservation and rehabilitation practices. Understanding of the driving forces of land use and land cover change (LULC C) is essential for effective sustainable land resource management. Change in LULC can also negatively affect the potential use of an area and may ultimately lead to land degradation.  Improving the understanding of land use and land cover dynamics can help in projecting future changes in land use and land cover and to instigate more appropriate policy interventions for achieving better land management.

Keywords: Deforestation, Ethiopia, land degradation, land use, soil quality.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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