Assessing and modeling land use/cover and ecosystem services evaluation in Central Ethiopia

Land degradation and ecosystem services (ES) impairment are a common phenomenon in Ethiopia due to unintended land use/cover (LULC) changes. Hence, currently millions are suffering with land conversions related socioeconomic and environmental problems. However, limited effort has been made to study the past and future impact of LULC changes on the ES values. This study aimed at estimating the values of ES in the past and future LULC changes of central Ethiopia. We assessed LULC transitions for 1973-2018 and simulated for 2050; thereby, ES values were estimated in different land covers to infer the total ecosystem value of the whole study area. The results revealed that natural forests, wetlands, and grazing lands, shrub-bush lands and water body were reduced by 16071.7, 6293.8, 35651.8, 72641.8, and 13559.2, respectively in the years between 1973 and 2018. On the contrary, cultivated lands and built-ups were increased by 225348.7 and 3331.5 ha, respectively. Similarly, in the 2050 cultivated lands and built-ups will be 678486.4 and 5050.17 ha, respectively and it shows 35.9 and 86.8% increments contrary to others land cover of the study landscape. As a result, the total value of ES of the study area reduced from US$ 1235.8 to US$ 1008.5 million (19%) in the years between 1973 and 2018. The total value of ES will be declined by US$ 263.8 million (27%) in 2050 compared to 1973. Of all estimated 17 individual ES only food production and food biological control were increased by 23 and 2.3%, respectively. For 15 individual ES reduced throughout the study periods. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that transitions of natural ecosystems in the landscape has caused immense ESs values loss and trade-offs. This implies that urgent policy measures are required that properly addresses land use related trade-offs and holistic benefits. Further studies that examine different land use management scenarios as options are paramount to indicate and encompass a mix of policy options. Keywords: Artificial Neuron Network, Cellular Automata, Eastern African, Ecosystem Service Valuation, Ethiopia, MOLUSE, Simulation
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Web resource