Author(s): Motuma Shiferaw Regasa; Michael Nones
Linked Author(s): Michael Nones
Keywords: Fincha River; Ethiopia; Land Use Land Cover
Abstract: Bare land expansion, increased surface runoff production and soil erosion are major environmental damages attributed to Land Use Land Cover Changes (LUCC) in the Fincha River Basin, in Ethiopia. In this area, characterized by an agriculture-based economy and a rapidly growing population, very rapid changes are recognizable and can be attributed to diverse factors, such as increasing population pressure, resettlement programs, planning strategies and climate changes. Indeed, the land is a critical resource for the livelihood of East Africans, and, following the demand for this resource, LULCC in this region resulted in a decline of natural forests to human settlements, urban centres, farmlands, and grazing lands. The present work investigates the changes that happened in the Fincha Basin during the last 30 years, comparing LULC maps of 1989, 2004 and 2019, as derived from Landsat satellites. For each satellite image, six classes were recognized via a maximum likelihood supervised classification method: agricultural land, built-up areas, forest, grass/swamp, shrub and sparse forest, water bodies. Preliminary results have shown a constant trend of increased areas covered by agricultural fields and settlements, with a significant reduction of forest and shrubs. The reduction of areas covered by forest contributed to an increment of soil erosion, with detrimental effects on the basin hillslopes, and an augmented sediment yield in the river, which is now causing problems in the hydropower reservoir of Fincha. The present results are under validation, which will be performed by comparing them with field evidence and information derived from very high resolute satellite images. Once validated, the LULC maps will be used for inferring information about potential future trends of LULC change to eventually study management policies and planning plans for sustainable management of the area at the basin scale.