Full Length Research Paper
The ever increasing demand of farmland, fuel wood and charcoal production coupled with population growth has accelerated the rate of forest reduction in Ethiopia. This has resulted in soil erosion and land degradation. This study was conducted at Arba Minch Zuria Woreda Gamo Gofa Zone, Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), with the aim of assessing impacts of deforestation on the livelihood of small holder farmers. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from primary and secondary data sources. Data on the socio-demographic variables as well as farmers’ perception towards impacts of deforestation, were collected using structured questionnaire from 180 randomly selected households from each study sites. The overall average age of respondents was 46.29, where the highest age was recorded in Mille site as compared to other sites (P<0.001). The average household (HH) size of each site was 6.62, 5.52 and 4.82, respectively (P<0.001). About 89.4% of the respondents from all study sites indicated the existence of unwise utilization of forest resources which led to environmental degradation of the area. The result indicated that 27.2% of the forest resources are common woodland, while 72.8% was open access. All the respondents (100%, N= 180) across the study sites reported that the increased trends of degradation of forest resources. Generally, the results of the study indicated that the effects of deforestation on land productivity; agriculture and livestock production had a negative effect on livelihoods of the community. Based on the present study, it is appropriate to undertake the large-scale natural resource management by incorporating community-based watershed management, thereby reducing the adverse impact of deforestation.
Key words: Deforestation, farmers perception, land degradation, livelihoods.
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