Land Cover Changes Between 1958 and 1986 in Kalu District, Southern Wello, Ethiopia

Type Journal Article - Mountain Research and Development
Title Land Cover Changes Between 1958 and 1986 in Kalu District, Southern Wello, Ethiopia
Volume 20
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2000
Page numbers 42-51
This paper evaluates changes in land use/land cover (hereafter land cover) in a specific area in Kalu District, Southern Wello, Ethiopia, by comparing two aerial photographs from 1958 and 1986. An attempt is also made to discuss possible implications of these land cover changes for land degradation. By applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS), two maps of the study area (for the years 1958 and 1986) were produced. The maps show a decrease in coverage by shrublands, riverine vegetation and forests, and an increase in remaining open areas, settlements, floodplains, and a water body. The areal extension of nine categories of land cover was calculated and, by overlaying the two maps, the percentage of each type of land cover that was converted into other categories was computed. Land cover changes were most noticeable for shrublands, with a decrease of 15.5 km2 (–51%), and for remaining open areas (ie, excluding cultivated areas and settlements), with an increase of 14.3 km2 (+333%). Areas under cultivation remained more or less unchanged. By and large, land cover changes observed in this study were the result of clearing of vegetation for fuelwood, grazing lands, new cultivation areas, etc., thus contributing to the current problem of land degradation in the country. If coordinated efforts are not made to rehabilitate degraded hillslopes, further deterioration of shrublands, forests, and riverine vegetation into areas with little or no plant cover will adversely affect the hillslopes and eventually those areas that are currently used for crop production.

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