Land use changes induced by irrigation development in the Fincha’a sugar estate, Blue nile basin, Ethiopia

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Research Paper 01/11/2013
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Land use changes induced by irrigation development in the Fincha’a sugar estate, Blue nile basin, Ethiopia

Getahun Kitila, Heluf Gebrekidan, Tena Alamirew, Megersa Oulumana, Hans Hurni
J. Bio. Env. Sci.3( 11), 31-47, November 2013.
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Abstract

Land use and land cover changes that occurred from 1984 to 2009 in the Fincha’a Sugar Estate, Blue Nile Basin of western Ethiopia, were monitored using a geographic information system (GIS) and a remote sensing approach with field verification. Fincha’a Sugar Estate is known for its sugar production and export of sugar as a surplus to major areas of the country. However, clearing increasingly flat and steeper land for cultivation and built-up land, land degradation is becoming a serious problem. The study revealed that the Sugar Estate has inundated 2.15% of water body, 8.70 % of natural forest, 4.52% of the built-up land, 12.39 % of the grass land, 38.20 % of the bush land and 34.05 % of the cultivated (sugar and other) farm land respectively. The results show that the natural forest cover declined from 17.25% in 1984 to 10.16% in 2005and 8.70% in 2009. The total natural forest cleared between 1984 and 2009 amounts to 3186 ha. This is 50% of the forest cover that existed in 1984. On the other hand, cultivated land increased from 6.01% in 1984 to 21.96% in 2005 and 34.07% in 2009. The study area had experienced a drastic change in its LUC conditions between 2005 and 2009 because of rapid increases in human settlement, deforestation and irrigation development. Such a dramatic change in 25 years and the increasing proportion of completely degraded lands clearly indicates the prevailing danger of land degradation in the area.

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