Impacts of past resettlement programs on deforestation of moist evergreen Afromontane forests in Southwest Ethiopia

Authors and Affiliations: 

Kefelegn Getahun, Department of Geography, Jimma University, Ethiopia
Anton Van Rompaey, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium
Jean Poesen, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium

Corresponding author: 
Anton Van Rompaey

Environmentally-induced migration as a result of severe land degradation and the resulted series of drought and famine episodes have caused huge mass displacement and migration in Ethiopia in the 20th century. This study aimed at assessing the impacts of past resettlement programs (spontaneous and planned) on depletion of forest cover in Southwest Ethiopia. The state of forest cover was mapped for the period 1957, 1975, and 2007 based on interpretation of aerial photographs and satellite image. The extent and rate of deforestation were analysed using overlay and buffer analysis techniques. Household survey and focus group discussions were conducted to collect information on past landscape change, causes and consequences of deforestation. Results from analysis of forest cover dynamics demonstrate that the study area has lost 80% of its forest cover over the past five decades (1957-2007). Demographic growth due to the resettlement programs and a shift in livelihood system introduced by settlers were identified as key drivers of deforestation. Moreover, lack of awareness, habitat destruction to deter crop-damaging wild animals, wood extraction for fuel, charcoal, and construction material aggravated deforestation in the study area. Coordinated efforts from concerned stakeholders (local people, NGOs, local and regional government bodies) should be put in place to rehabilitate the forest cover in the region.


Getahun K, Van Rompaey A, Van Turnhout P, Poesen J. 2013. Factors controlling patterns of deforestation in moist evergreen Afromontane forests of Southwest Ethiopia. Forest Ecology and Management 304: 171-181.

Oral or poster: 
Poster presentation
Abstract order: