Review of Trends and Management of Mountain Environment: Land Use and Land Cover Changes in the Northern Highlands of Ethiopia

Taye Alemu


Mountains supply enormous variety of goods and services to people living in and out of such areas. It is a source of fresh water, hotspots of biodiversity and destination for tourists and recreational activities. Nonetheless, mountain ecosystems are very much sensitive to human actions and interventions. In Ethiopia, environmental problems in mountain areas associated with loss of land resources (vegetation, soil and water) and biodiversity are apparent due to anthropogenic impact , particularly, over the last five decades.  The main pressure arises from change in land use system and climate.  Thus, this study aimed at reviewing various studies conducted in relation to trends and managements of mountain environment in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. Studies reviewed were those which were conducted in the Northern (Tigray), North Eastern (Wollo) and North Western Highland (Gojjam and Gonder) mountain areas.  The assessment  was made using researches carried out based on different time interval data (1860s, 1950s, 1970s, and 1995s). Then, summarized and synthesized data was presented using tables, figures and textual narrations.  The result of the analysis shows that the northern mountain landscape (Tigray) was extremely degraded between 1868 and 1970s; however, there has been now a general tendency of improvement. The progress is the result of intensive rehabilitation activities as well as initiatives by farmers. In the areas that were previously least degraded, are now degrading very fast whereas those which were already much degraded in 1868, has benefited from improved land management. On the contrary, the general trends of mountain resources both in north eastern (Wollo) and north western (Gojjam and Gonder) shows the prevalence of continuous land resource degradation and ineffectiveness of environmental management process.

Keywords: land Cover, Land Use, Management and Mountain Environment 

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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