Journal of
Horticulture and Forestry

  • Abbreviation: J. Hortic. For.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9782
  • DOI: 10.5897/JHF
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 287

Article in Press

Anthropogenic Processes of Forest Cover Change in Menit Goldiya and Menit Shasha Districts, Bench Maji Zone, South West Ethiopia

Zewude Weyessa Edessa* and Zenawi Kiflay Assefa

  •  Received: 22 August 2019
  •  Accepted: 25 October 2019
Anthropogenic activities have modified the forest resources and resulted in significant environmental changes. This is not an exception to Menit Goldiya and Menit Shasha districts. The ignitions of fire aiming at new grass regeneration and other human activities have changed the forest cover status of the two districts. Thus, this study was initiated to detect the magnitude and rate of forest cover change over 29 years, identify the causes and the consequences of the forest cover change. Both primary and secondary data sources were used. Geographic information system and remote sensing were used to determine trends of spatial and temporal vegetation changes while qualitative data obtained from focus group discussion, key informant interview and field observation were used to triangulate information on the causes and consequences of forest cover change in integrated way with forest cover change matrix. A total of 27,820 ha (16.49%) and 58,910 ha (20.10%) forest land cover has been recorded in the year 2015 for Menit Goldiya and Menit Shasha districts, respectively. The result showed that there is a declining trend of forest cover status over the study period 1986-2015 with an annual rate of 1740.68 ha (3.57%) for Menit Goldiya district and 2257.13 ha (2.58%) for Menit Shasha district. Menit Goldiya district recorded the greater annual deforestation rate than Menit Shasha district. Except bush land for Menit Goldiya district, other land covers showed an increasing trend for the two districts for the study period. The major causes of forest cover change were human induced fire, settlement, agricultural expansion and investment. It was percieved that the forest cover change has led to loss of food and medicinal plants, reduced soil productivity, wildlife migration, deterioration of water quality and quantity and climate change. The successive processes of forest cover change are directly linked with the anthropogenic activities and also disadvantaging the local communities. Therefore, the concerned bodies of the districts should work on community awareness creation on major causes and consequences identified and seek for alternative feed source for those communities relaying on livestock production.

Keywords: Causes, Consequences, Ethiopia, Fire, Forest cover, Settlement, Successive processes