Trends of Land Use/Cover Changes in Mandura District, Benshangul-Gumuz Regional State, Ethiopia
The main objective of this study is to investigate trends of land use/cover changes since the 1980s in Mandura district of Benshangul-Gumuz regional state. A total of 210 farm households from three kebeles: 105 from the local people and 105 from migrants were surveyed in May 2011 to acquire data on socioeconomic and land use. Aerial photographs of 1982 and SPOT-5 image of the 2006/07 were used to generate data on land use/cover changes. The results of this study indicate that respondents perceive that there were land use/cover changes in the study area since the 1990s. In view of this, respondents feel that bamboo trees, grazing land, grassland as well as wildlife have shown decline since the 1990s. The aerial photograph and spot-5 image analyses reveal the same result. Of the total 35, 386 ha of land that underwent conversion, farmland constituted 85.5%, riverine trees 12.4% and settlements 2.1%. The major drivers of land use/cover changes identified by respondents were population increase which in turn has triggered expansion of agriculture and deforestation. Consequently, the indigenous population has faced land shortage for practicing shifting cultivation. Furthermore, they were forced to change their livelihoods which in turn triggered natural environment degradation because of charcoal and wood selling practices. The study finally concludes that trends in land use/cover changes are evident and needs proper attention and appropriate interventions.
Keywords: Indigenous Population; Land Use/Cover Change; Migrants; Shifting Cultivation