Land Use/Land Cover Dynamics and its Environmental Impacts in Kulfo Watershed, Gamo Highlands, South Western Ethiopia

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Teshome Yirgu
Yibeltal Yihunie
Alemu Assele
Teklu Wogayehu


Gamo highland have experienced drastic cover dynamics of land resource resulted from historic settlement, heavy concentration of human and livestock population, and obsolete farming practices. The aim of this study was to examine the dynamics of the land use/land cover and its consequent environmental impacts in Kulfo watershed located in South Western Ethiopia. Historic spatial and socio-economic data were used in GIS and Remote Sensing environment to analyze and map the research data. The result of this study revealed that the Land use/ cover change analysis conducted in three periods (1986, 1999 and 2017) showed a remarkable dynamics and modification over varying cover types. In 1986 the dominant land use land covers were cultivated land (42%) followed by pasture land (23%) and forest land (18.3%). After 32 years (2017), cultivated land (71%), shrub land (7.5%) and bare lands (6.2%) were the three dominant land uses/cover types in the study area. During the study period, cultivation encroached to marginal steep slopes (with gradient more than 60%) and mountain grasslands where once used as a place of celebrating traditional festivals and grazing lands. Such a dramatic change in three-decade period has further increased degraded lands and raised erosion vulnerable areas to 97.2%, the resultant effects of which has greatly threatened the livelihood of communities in the watershed. The land use in the study watershed is not as of the land capability, excess forest, shrub and grasslands were unnecessarily brought under agriculture. Therefore, it is recommended that land has to be used as per its capability and conservation measures shall give attention to erosion prone areas.

Land use/cover, environmental impacts, GIS, remote sensing.

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How to Cite
Yirgu, T., Yihunie, Y., Assele, A., & Wogayehu, T. (2020). Land Use/Land Cover Dynamics and its Environmental Impacts in Kulfo Watershed, Gamo Highlands, South Western Ethiopia. Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International, 24(2), 1-11.
Original Research Article


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