Effect of refugees and host communities on the natural resource degradation: A case study on Hitsats Kebele, northern Ethiopia

Land based subsistent farming has been practiced in Ethiopia, particularly in the Northern parts where Eritrean refugees and host communities are many. Natural resource degradation due to recurrent cutting down trees for cooking and baking, traditional gold mining and expanding cultivation of crops is severe. To reverse the natural resource degradation and maintain sustainable socioeconomic development in Hitsats Kebele of Tigray regional State of Ethiopia, ZOA Relief│Hope│Recovery international, Ethiopia in collaboration with Aksum University has conducted a study to identify the effect of refugees and host communities on natural resources and propose best land use planning. The study was done in 2016 and employed household survey, focus group discussions, consultative meetings with sector offices, field measurements and GIS data analyses. Mixed crop-livestock production, traditional gold mining, small and medium enterprises are the main means of livelihoods for the host community whereas Eritrean refugees depend on rations from UNHCR, remittance and petty trade. In the existing land uses, soil erosion and deforestation are the major problems. Other means of livelihood for the host community households include selling of fuel wood. Similarly, these respondents reported that food security is not an issue for people who are in their productive ages and have land in the area. Financial limitation is said to be the main challenge for the refugee community to engage in viable businesses in the camp. Hence, there is need for interventions to improve the coverage and quality of soil and water conservation (SWC), plantation and area exclusion, create employment opportunities, enhance food security and income of both host community and Eritrean refugees while reducing burden on the natural resources.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Web resource