American Journal of Environmental Protection
ISSN (Print): 2328-7241 ISSN (Online): 2328-7233 Website: Editor-in-chief: Mohsen Saeedi, Hyo Choi
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Environmental Protection. 2018, 6(3), 59-67
DOI: 10.12691/env-6-3-2
Open AccessArticle

Impacts of Community Based Watershed Management on Land Use/Cover Change at Elemo Micro-Watershed, Southern Ethiopia

Abiyot Legesse1, , Misikir Bogale2 and Dereje Likisa1

1Department of Geography and Environmental studies, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia

2Yirgachefe Secondary and Preparatory School

Pub. Date: September 06, 2018

Cite this paper:
Abiyot Legesse, Misikir Bogale and Dereje Likisa. Impacts of Community Based Watershed Management on Land Use/Cover Change at Elemo Micro-Watershed, Southern Ethiopia. American Journal of Environmental Protection. 2018; 6(3):59-67. doi: 10.12691/env-6-3-2


Implementation of watershed at small scale level, through community participation would enhance biodiversity, increase soil fertility, reduce soil loss and also contribute to climate change mitigation. In view of this, this paper assesses the impact of community based watershed management on land use/cover change at Elemo micro watershed. Comparison of land use/ cover before and after the implementation of watershed development program was made using satellite images of four periods to shed light on the role of community based watershed management at micro-level. Cognizant of the prevailing land degradation and the consequent livelihood challenges, the local government in collaboration with the local people had introduced watershed management in the area in 2005. Following the intervention, large areas which were degraded and left bare had been covered with bush/shrub, agroforestry and grassland. Before the intervention (in 2005), the proportion of bush/shrub and agroforestry was 171 ha and 34 ha respectively. This was later increased to 617 ha and 152ha respectively following the measures taken. The result also showed that the implemented community based watershed management intervention resulted in restoration of biodiversity and improvement in soil fertility. A key factor to this success was active participation of the local community through their social organization and cultural practices such as Urane. The findings of this study reveal that CBWSM at small scale plays an essential role in improving land use planning, reducing poverty and creating sustainable livelihoods in Ethiopia.

community based watershed management land use/land cover micro watershed agroforestry Ethiopia

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Turner, B.L. II and B.L. Meyer, “Global Land-use and Land-cover Change: An Overview” . In W. M. II (Ed.), In Changes in Land-use and Land-cover: A Global Perspective (pp. 3-10.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
[2]  Lambin, E. F.,Geist, H. J.,& Lepers, E., “Dynamics of land-use and land-cover change in tropical regions”. Annual review of environment and resources, 28, 205-241, 2003.
[3]  Reenberg, A., “Agricultural land-use pattern dynamics in the Sudan-Sahel towards an event-driven framework”, Land Use Policy, 18, 30-319, 2001.
[4]  Lambin, E. F., & Geist, H. J., “Proximate Causes and Underlying Driving Forces of Tropical Deforestation”, BioScience, 52(2), 2002.
[5]  Winterbottom R., Reij C., Garrity D., Glover J., Hellums D, Mcgahuey M, and Scherr S., Installment 4 of “Creating a Sustainable Food Future” Improving land and waetr management. Working paper. World Resource Institute, 2013.
[6]  Tiwari, K. R., Bajracharya, R. M., & Sitaula, B. K., “Natural Resource and Watershed Management in South Asia: A Comparative Evaluation with Special References to Nepal”, The Journal of Agriculture and Environment, 9, 2008.
[7]  Hudson, N. W., A Study of the Reasons for Success or Failure of Soil Conservation Projects. Rome. FAO soil bulletin, 64. Rome, Italy, 1991.
[8]  Peraz, C. and H. Tschinkel, Improving Watershed Management in Developing Countries: A Framework for Prioritizing Sites and Practices. Agriculture Research and Extension Network. U.K., 2003.
[9]  Hurni, H. and K. Tato, (eds.) Soil Conservation for Survival. Soil and Water Conservation Society. USA, 1992.
[10]  Johnson, N. L., H. M. Ravnborg, O. Westermann and K. Probst, “User Participation in Watershed Management and Research”, Water Policy, 3, 507-520, 2001.
[11]  Pender, J. and S. Ehui, Policies for Sustainable Land Management in the Highlands of Ethiopia”, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C., 2000.
[12]  Schumache, E. F., Small is Beautiful Economics As if People Mattered. London: Blond & Briggs, 1973.
[13]  Kerr, J., “Watershed management: lessons from common property theory”, International Journal of the Commons, 1(1), 89-110, 2007.
[14]  Fikir A., Nurhussen T., Jan N., Atkilt G., Amanuel Z., Mintesinot B., Seppe D., Jean P., “The impacts of watershed management on land use and land cover dynamics in Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia”, Resources, conservation and recycling, 53, 192-198, 2008.
[15]  Nigussie H., Ademnur B., Atsushi T., Mitsuru T., and Derege T., “Integrated Watershed Management as an Effective Approach to curb Land Degradation: A case of Enabred Watershed in Northeren Ethiopia”, Environmental Management, 50, 1219-1233, 2012.
[16]  Nyssen, J., Haile, M., Naudts, J., Munro, N., Poesen, J., Moeyersons, J., Frankl, A., Deckers, J. & Pankhurst, R., “Desertification? Northern Ethiopia re-photographed after 140 years”, Science of the Total Environment, 407, 2749-2755. 64, 273-320, 2009.
[17]  Roba, B., Traditional Methods of soil conservation and management practice, the case of Tuniticha and Amba peasant Association, WonagoWereda. unpublished Msc. thesis, 2003.
[18]  Wonago wereda rural and agricultural development office. Wonago Wereda agriculture and rural development annual report. Wonago,Gedeo zone: Unpublished, 2015.
[19]  Ndabula C., Averik P. D., Jidauna G.G., Abaje I., Oyatayo T. K., and E. O Iguisi. “Analysis of the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Land use/ Land cover Structures in the Kaduna Inner core City Region, Nigeria”, American Journal of Environmental Protec, 1(4), 112-119, 2013.
[20]  Legesse, A., The Dynamics of Gedeo Agroforestry and Its Implications to Sustainability. PhD Dissertation, UNISA. South Africa, 2014.
[21]  Debelo A.R., Legesse A., Milstein T., Orkaydo O., ““Tree Is Life”: The Rising of Dualism and the Declining of Mutualism among the Gedeo of Southern Ethiopia”, Front. Commun., 7(2), 2017.
[22]  Kippie, T., Five Thousand Years of Sustainability? A Case Study on Gedeo Land Use (Southern Ethiopia). Phd Dissertation. Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 2002.
[23]  Beilin, R., Lindborg, R., Stenseke, M., Pereira, H.M., Llausàs, A., Slätmo, E., Cerqueira, Y., Navarro, L., Rodrigues, P., Reichelt, N., Munro, N., & Queiroz, C.. “Analysing how drivers of agricultural land abandonment affect biodiversity and cultural landscapes using case studies from Environ Monit Assess (2015) 187: 452 Page 15 of 17 452 Scandinavia, Iberia and Oceania. 36. Land Use Policy, 60-72, 2014.
[24]  Broadbent, E.N., Almeyda Zambrano, A.M., Dirzo, R., Durham,W.H., Driscoll, L., Gallagher, P., Salters, R., Schultz, J., Colmenares, A., Randolph, S.G, “The effect of land use change and ecotourism on biodiversity: a case study of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, from 1985 to 2008”, Land sc. Ecol., 27 (5), 731-744, 2012.
[25]  Campbell, D., Lusch, D.,Smucker, T., &Wangui, E., Multiple Methods in the Study of Driving Forces of Land Use and Land Cover Change: A Case Study of South East Kajiado District, Kenya. Human Ecology, 33(6), 33-45, 1991.
[26]  Dessie, G. & Kleman, J., “Pattern and magnitude of deforestation in the South Central Rift valley region of Ethiopia”, Mountain research and development, 27, 162-168, 2007.
[27]  FAO, Land Cover Classification System: Classification Concepts and User Manual. Series 8. Rome, Italy, 2005.
[28]  Garedew, E., Sandewall, M., Söderberg, U. & Campbell, B. M., “Land-use and land- cover dynamics in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia”, Environmental Management, 44, 683-694, 2009.
[29]  Getachew, H., Mohammed, A. & Abule E. “Land use/Cover dynamics and its Implications since the 1960s in the Borana rangelands of Southern Ethiopia”, Livestock Research for Rural Development, 22(7), 2011.
[30]  Guan, D., Li, H., Inohae, T., Su, W., Nagaie, T., & Hokao, K., “Modeling urban land use change by the integration of cellular automaton and Markov model”, Ecological Modelling, 222, 3761-3772, 2011.
[31]  Reenberg, A., and Lund, C., “Land-use and land right dynamics-determinants for resource management options in Eastern Burkina Faso”, Hum. Ecol., 26 (4), 599-620, 1998.
[32]  Solomon A., Land use dynamics, soil degradation and potential for sustainable use in Metu Area, Illubabor Region. Ethiopia:. 119. University of Berne Switzerland, Institute of Geography, 1994.
[33]  Tesfaye Habtamu. Assessment of Sustainable Watershed Management Approach Case Study in Lenche Dima, Tsegur Eyesus and Dijjil Watersheds (Master’s Thesis). Cornell University, U. S.A. 2011.
[34]  Weng Q., “Land use change analysis in the Zhujiang Delta of China using satellite remote sensing, GIS and stochastic modeling”. Journal of Environmental Management, 64, 273-284, 2001.
[35]  Wood, A.I., Natural resource management and rural development in Ethiopia. In S. F. Pause wang (Ed.), Ethiopia: Options for Rural Development. London and New Jersey: Zed Books Ltd, 1990.