Journal of
Horticulture and Forestry

  • Abbreviation: J. Hortic. For.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9782
  • DOI: 10.5897/JHF
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 272

Full Length Research Paper

Impacts of human resettlement on forests of Ethiopia: The case of Chamen-Didhessa Forest in Chewaka district, Ethiopia

Derjew Yilak
  • Derjew Yilak
  • Bahre Giorgis Preparatory School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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Daniel Getahun Debelo
  • Daniel Getahun Debelo
  • Department of Applied Biology, Adama Science and Technology University, P. O. Box 1888, Adama, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 28 January 2019
  •  Accepted: 22 March 2019
  •  Published: 30 April 2019

Abstract

Ethiopia has been practicing population resettlement programmes since 1960s mainly as a response to extreme land degradation in the highlands. The programmes were carried out mainly in the lowlands of western, southwestern and southern Ethiopia. Accordingly, 12,305 households (56,715 people) from Eastern and Western Hararghe zones were formally resettled in Chamen-Didhessa forest in Chewaka district. The major aim of this study was to assess the impacts of resettlement on the forest cover between 2004 and 2016. Data about the size of farmland held by the respondents and other issues related to the forest were randomly collected from 360 households from four sites through semi-structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Of the 54,200 ha of the natural forest, 38,906 ha (72%) was cleared by the government during the preparation for the resettlement programme in 2004. About 58% of the remaining forest land was deforested by the resettlers between 2004 and 2016. The average of farmland possessed by each household was 1.74 ha at the beginning of settlement in 2004 and it increased to 2.1 ha in 2016.  The major causes for the forest cover reduction after the settlement were clearing of forest for farmland expansion, forest burning, cutting of trees for firewood, charcoal production and construction wood and logging. The human population increased from 12,305 households (56,715 people) in 2004 to 19,415 households (71,809 people) in 2016. The government has to take measure to rehabilitate the forest and conserve the remaining one. 

Key words: Chewaka district, deforestation, forest, forest resource, population pressure, resettlement.