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Cultivated land – a scarce commodity in a densely populated rural area in South Wollo, Ethiopia

Journal article
Authors Staffan Rosell
Mats Olvmo
Björn Holmer
Published in Journal of Land Use Science
Volume 12
Issue 4
Pages 252-270
ISSN 1747-423X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 252-270
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2017.13...
Keywords Ethiopia, land cover, Land use, per capita farmland, population pressure, rainwater harvesting pond
Subject categories Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Physical Geography

Abstract

Cultivated and settlement areas were studied in a small area (14 km2) in South Wollo, Ethiopia, by aerial photos, satellite images, field observations and interviews. Areas for cultivation/rural settlement decreased a few per cent between 1958 and 2013. Cultivated land per household slowly decreased in 1958–2003 but in 2003–2013 the annual decrease was 3–4 times higher. New farm buildings are often built on cultivated land, and abandoned buildings areas return to cultivation. Rainwater harvesting ponds have increased the areas with perennial crops that are important as a source of income. Tin roofed buildings are signs of improved livelihood. Very small farm size and rain-dependent agriculture combined with climate variability make food security vulnerable. Land-use inventories including remote sensing and local knowledge would be a valuable approach to assess livelihood needs. Further, it should involve decision makers at different levels, but local agricultural extension officers may play a central role

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