Challenges of Sustainable Land Management in Highland Ethiopia. The case of the Foothills of Entoto Mountain

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Addis Ababa University


Land degradation in the form of soil erosion is the most constraining factor of agriculture in the foothills of Entoto Mountain. It is increasingly understood that sustainable land management (SLM) is required, not only to balance land for food and nature, but also to unlock paths to sustainable development. However, several challenges impede its success fit! promotion. Thus, identification of these challenges is of paramount importance. Therefore, this study was aimed to jill this gap by investigating challenges of SLM in terms of the perception of farmers on the problem and causes of soil erosion; constraints of the existing SLM practices; and bio-physical, socia-economic and institutional challenges of promoting successfid SLM To achieve these objectives, personal interview of 108 households was condue/ed in the selected sLt peasants 'gats' at the foothills of Entoto Mountain using structured questions. Proportional sill1ple random sampling technique was used to select the households. In addition, jield observation, focus group discussion and key informant interview were conducted. Descriptive statistics were employedfor data analysis inline with the objectives of the study. The result discloses that farmers have good perception of the problem of soil erosion. But their perception on the extent/severity of soil erosion is lirnited to visual authentication such as gullies and gives more emphaSiS to long time than shari term indicators. Farmers' perception of population growth as a cause of soil erosion is also hardly longed-for. As most femners have a good perception of controlling soil erosion, they use contour plowing, traditional terraces, traditional waterways, traditional ditches, unplowed strips, traditional check dallls, and plantations. Moreover, manure, composting and fertilization are used to augment production. However, the existing practices are not effectively applied to control soil erosion due to varimls constraints of the technologies such as land shortage, labor shortage, rodents, conflict, erosion risk, lock of knowledge, high opportunity cost, loll' durability, high cost, and materials. Derived , by bio-physical, socia-economic and institutional forces: heavy run-off; Fee and unregulated grazing, cereal mono-cropping, prevalence of production oriented land use changes, engagement in non-sustainable off-farm income diversification activities such as sale of stone, filel \vood and dung cake, tenure insecurity, strategic problems, low resource endowment, and /Oll' credit and extension services constrained the promotion of success fit! SLM by distressing the level of investment households commit to SLMpractices. The study suggests the follOWing implications which help to meet the challenges of sustainable 7a)Jd management in the foothills of Entoto Mountain. Extensive farmers ' education for beller elucidation of land degradation processes and I'nanagement; technical support tofarmers toward,' integration, design and specifications of SLM practices; non-politically demarcated integrated watershed management; introduction of modern SLM practices which have ecological and economical effectiveness; literacy campaign and family planning; environmental Fiendly ojj-jimn opportunities; environmentally Fiendly alternative sources of energy; long-term lease tenure; integrated credit and extension services; and policies and strategies that coordinate and make strong both rural and urban systems.



Management in Highland Ethiopia