Evaluating Land Use/Land Cover Change and Its Socioeconomic Implications in Agarfa District of Bale Zone, Southeastern Ethiopia

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Abstract
A systematic analysis of land use/cover change is so decisive to exactly understand the extent of change and take essential measures to curb down the rate of changes and protect the land cover resources sustainably. This land use/land cover change study was conducted in Agarfa district of Bale zone, Oromia Regional State, Southeastern Ethiopia. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the trends, drivers and its socio-economic and environmental implication in study area. A descriptive research method was employed to achieve the intended objectives of the study. In the three years (1976, 1995, and 2014) Landsat Satellite images and socio-economic survey were the main data sources for this study. ERDAS Imagine and Arch-GIS tools were used to classify and generate land use/land cover maps of the study area. Survey questionnaires, key informant interviews, and field observation were employed to obtain information on drivers and its socio-economic and environmental implication in the district. The results show that the land use/land cover of the study area had changed dramatically during the period of 38 years. A rapid loss of forest land and shrub land cover in the landscape took place between 1976 and 2014. Conversely, agriculture and grazing lands were increased by 30% and 42% respectively at the expense of the lost land use/land cover types. Forest land is the most converted cover type during the entire study period. In the 38 years, forest lands diminished by over 65% of the original forest cover that was existed at the base year (1976). Local climate change, declining agricultural productivity and livestock quantity and quality and scarcity of fuel wood and constructional materials were some of the socio-economic and livelihood impacts of land use and land cover change of the study area. Thus, this finding affords information to land users and policy makers on extent of the change and social forces leading to this changes and its subsequent implication on local socio-economic and environmental conditions of the study area.
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First archival date: 2021-10-17
Latest version: 2 (2021-10-17)
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