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An upland farming system under transformation: proximate causes of land use change in Bela-Welleh catchment (Wag, northern Ethiopian highlands)

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Abstract
A possible way out of the „low-level equilibrium trap‟ in the Ethiopian Highlands is agricultural intensification. To characterise and quantify current transformations in these permanent upland cultivation systems, a detailed study on land use changes and its proximate causes was carried out in the 41 km2 Bela-Welleh catchment (2050–3682 m a.s.l.) in the Wag zone of Amhara Region, Northern Ethiopia. Land use maps were obtained through aerial photo interpretation (1965 and 1986) and detailed field mapping (2005–2006). Interpretation of topographic maps and field mapping gave knowledge of the spatial distribution of possible explanatory factors. Major land use changes are (1) a gradual abandonment of mountain agriculture which was replaced by woody vegetation (now covering 70% of the upper catchment) and (2) the widespread introduction of irrigation agriculture, wherever water is available (from 0% in 1982 to 5% of the catchment in 2006). Whereas both changes are favoured by government policies, they have now at least partially been taken up by the farming communities. The study demonstrates these land use changes and their influencing factors. Changes of crop- and rangeland into forest occur on the steeper slopes in higher topographical position. Changes from rain fed cropland into irrigated cropland (two harvests) depend obviously on the availability of water, but also on population density, and inversely on distance to Sekota town. We are here in presence of an almost classical example of the mutation of a „„permanent upland cultivation system‟‟ into a system with irrigated agriculture.

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Chicago
Eshetu, Getachew, Nurhussen Taha, and Jan Nyssen. 2011. “An Upland Farming System Under Transformation: Proximate Causes of Land Use Change in Bela-Welleh Catchment (Wag, Northern Ethiopian Highlands).” In IAG/AIG Regional Conference 2011 : Geomorphology for Human Adaptation to Changing Tropical Environments, Abstracts, ed. Asfawossen Asrat, Francesco Dramis, Jan Nyssen, and Mohammed Umer, 59–59.
APA
Eshetu, G., Taha, N., & Nyssen, J. (2011). An upland farming system under transformation: proximate causes of land use change in Bela-Welleh catchment (Wag, northern Ethiopian highlands). In A. Asrat, F. Dramis, J. Nyssen, & M. Umer (Eds.), IAG/AIG regional conference 2011 : geomorphology for human adaptation to changing tropical environments, Abstracts (pp. 59–59). Presented at the IAG/AIG Regional Conference 2011 : Geomorphology for Human Adaptation to Changing Tropical Environments.
Vancouver
1.
Eshetu G, Taha N, Nyssen J. An upland farming system under transformation: proximate causes of land use change in Bela-Welleh catchment (Wag, northern Ethiopian highlands). In: Asrat A, Dramis F, Nyssen J, Umer M, editors. IAG/AIG regional conference 2011 : geomorphology for human adaptation to changing tropical environments, Abstracts. 2011. p. 59–59.
MLA
Eshetu, Getachew, Nurhussen Taha, and Jan Nyssen. “An Upland Farming System Under Transformation: Proximate Causes of Land Use Change in Bela-Welleh Catchment (Wag, Northern Ethiopian Highlands).” IAG/AIG Regional Conference 2011 : Geomorphology for Human Adaptation to Changing Tropical Environments, Abstracts. Ed. Asfawossen Asrat et al. 2011. 59–59. Print.
@inproceedings{1186156,
  abstract     = {A possible way out of the {\quotedblbase}low-level equilibrium trap\unmatched{201f} in the Ethiopian Highlands is agricultural intensification. To characterise and quantify current transformations in these permanent upland cultivation systems, a detailed study on land use changes and its proximate causes was carried out in the 41 km2 Bela-Welleh catchment (2050--3682 m a.s.l.) in the Wag zone of Amhara Region, Northern Ethiopia. Land use maps were obtained through aerial photo interpretation (1965 and 1986) and detailed field mapping (2005--2006). Interpretation of topographic maps and field mapping gave knowledge of the spatial distribution of possible explanatory factors. Major land use changes are (1) a gradual abandonment of mountain agriculture which was replaced by woody vegetation (now covering 70\% of the upper catchment) and (2) the widespread introduction of irrigation agriculture, wherever water is available (from 0\% in 1982 to 5\% of the catchment in 2006). Whereas both changes are favoured by government policies, they have now at least partially been taken up by the farming communities. The study demonstrates these land use changes and their influencing factors. Changes of crop- and rangeland into forest occur on the steeper slopes in higher topographical position. Changes from rain fed cropland into irrigated cropland (two harvests) depend obviously on the availability of water, but also on population density, and inversely on distance to Sekota town. We are here in presence of an almost classical example of the mutation of a {\quotedblbase}{\quotedblbase}permanent upland cultivation system\unmatched{201f}\unmatched{201f} into a system with irrigated agriculture.},
  author       = {Eshetu, Getachew and Taha, Nurhussen and Nyssen, Jan},
  booktitle    = {IAG/AIG regional conference 2011 : geomorphology for human adaptation to changing tropical environments, Abstracts},
  editor       = {Asrat, Asfawossen and Dramis, Francesco and Nyssen, Jan and Umer, Mohammed},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Addis Ababa, Ethiopia},
  pages        = {59--59},
  title        = {An upland farming system under transformation: proximate causes of land use change in Bela-Welleh catchment (Wag, northern Ethiopian highlands)},
  url          = {http://www.geomorph.org/sp/arch/RCG-ET2011abs.pdf},
  year         = {2011},
}