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Research Paper | December 1, 2011

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Analyses of land cover changes and major driving forces assessment in middle highland Tigray, Ethiopia: the case of areas around Laelay-Koraro

Thadiparthi Byragi Reddy, Mekonen Aregai Gebreselassie

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.1(6), 22-29, December 2011

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Abstract

Analyzing the land cover changes and understanding the subsequent trends of change contribute to present complex dynamics of land cover and is important for policy making, planning and implementing of natural resource management. In this study, the land cover changes in a 64512 ha, in areas around Laelay-Koraro middle highland Tigray, Ethiopia has been investigated. Aerial photos from 1964 and 1994 and satellite imagery for the year 2007 were used to appraise the land cover changes and Geographic Information System (GIS) were employed to interpret maps and ground truth checking. Changes have also been detected using semi-structured questionnaire from a randomly selected 400 households on socioeconomic factors driving land cover changes. The aggregate of change through time tested using the combined techniques revealed that, the rates of conversion of land cover types were observed between 1964 and 1994 and this were during the second period in forest cover, degraded and bare land areas. The size of forest cover increased by 10.5% between 1994 and 2007 contributed to a remarkable increment in irrigable land from -0.3% to 3.4% of the total area. Interviewed households revealed that increasing population aggravated the rates of conversion of cultivated land and built up areas at the expense of vegetation cover caused high rates of soil erosion, runoff, excessive sedimentation, reduced infiltration rates and soil moisture. Finally, this study validates the reversibility of natural resource as the result of extensive management practices and community participation.

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Analyses of land cover changes and major driving forces assessment in middle highland Tigray, Ethiopia: the case of areas around Laelay-Koraro

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