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Consequences of forest loss for smallholders and their response in Southern Ethiopia


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Presented by Jean-Yves Duriaux at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Mérida, Yucatán (Mexico) on July 11, 2017. This presentation was part of the Agrarian Change Project Symposium: The impacts of agrarian change on local communities: Sharing experience from the field.
SUMMARY: Deforestation may have a number of negative effects on rural livelihoods, however rural households do not passively sustain these situation but actively respond, as shown by several examples of farmers led reforestation. Our goal is to understand the outcomes for rural livelihoods of different deforestation trends and land use patterns and to explore the households’ responses. Three sites decreasing in their tree cover, access to forest and increasing in their cropland proportion, but otherwise with almost identical conditions were selected in Southern Ethiopia. A mix of methods were used between September 2014 and September 2015: remote sensing, tree counting, household surveys, participatory rural appraisal and focus group discussions. A change from forest and grassland to cropland resulted in improved food security and income but led to a reduction of construction materials, fuelwood and livestock numbers across all sites. As a household’s response to the scarcity of these products, reforestation occurred in all zones at different times: first in the intermediate zone -high tree cover, no access to forest-, then in the zone most distant to the forest -most deforested-, and finally closest to the forest -highest tree cover-. Reforestation occurred through Eucalyptus establishment and natural regeneration –based on inhabitants’ decisions- . Homestead establishment and proximity to the homestead were found to promote reforestation and perennial land uses: tree cover, woodlots, grasslands and false banana –Enset - plantations. Currently, livestock ownership and its equality increased with decreasing cropland specialization and decreasing distance to forest; with implications observed in wealth indicators. Livestock and trees were mentioned as assets that reduce vulnerability and support poorer households. We conclude that farmer led reforestation occurred as an active response to recover diminished ecosystem services, and that although crop specialization originally improved food security and income, it later promoted inequalities, vulnerability and reduced wealth; oppositely a higher proportion of perennial land uses within the agricultural matrix and access to forest could help to reduce these problems.

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Consequences of forest loss for smallholders and their response in Southern Ethiopia

  1. 1. Consequences of forest loss for smallholders and their response in Southern Ethiopia The New agrarian Change Project Jean-Yves Duriaux, Frédéric Baudron, Sarah Gergel, Kevin Yang, Ian eddy, Terry Sunderland
  2. 2. Local livelihoods HouseholdLandscape Outcome of LUC Response to LUC
  3. 3. 1970 20141980 1990 2000 Drought Food security Forest cover Farm size Government H.Selassie Current government (EPRDF) Events Land to the tillers Fertilizer Varieties Agr. tech. assistance War Famine Derg 2010 Infrastructures improve Population Livestock N° Agricultural expansion improved livelihoods but decreased ES
  4. 4. Rural household actively respond to LUC outcomes
  5. 5. Intermediate NearDistant
  6. 6. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 50 100 250 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 50 100 250 Proportionofareabylanduse(%) 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 50 100 250 Distance from the homestead (m) Near Intermediate Distant Homestead establishment promotes trees and grass
  7. 7. -5% -4% -3% -2% -1% 0% 1% 1972-1986 1986-1999 1999-2013 Annualnetforestchange (%oftotalarea) Near Intermediate Distant Recovering ecosystem services drives reforestation
  8. 8. Near Intermediate Distant Proportionofeucalyputs fromtreebasalaream2ha-1 Compromises between tree cover and biodiversity value
  9. 9. Let´s take a closer look into the current situation
  10. 10. Near Intermediate Distant Forest promotes equality
  11. 11. 31% 39% 31% Near 36% 41% 23% Intermediate 49% 28% 22% Distant Resource poor Crop oriented Livestock oriented 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Diverse Intermediate Simplified Households<0.5ha Resource poor Livestock oriented
  12. 12. Comments? Questions?