The expansion of agriculture at the expense of natural forest may not be a problem if the agricultural land use system is implemented in sustainable way, however such is not the case in the Bench Maji Zone (Southern Ethiopia), where large forest areas are cleared for cereal based farming and without any amendment or conservation. Due to forest removal, steep slopes as well as high rainfall, the soils are exposed to erosion and fertility decline. Hence, soil degradation in the area is in rapid development as a result of agricultural expansion and settlement at the expense of natural forest. Therefore, it is crucial to assure sustainable land and ecosystem management by conserving the remaining forest on the region. Moreover conservation of the forest in the catchment ensures sustainability of spring water supply. To do so, the analysis of land use land use/cover change and its potential land degradation and sediment transport risks in the region is essential. This is mainly because the human land use and management practices are the most important factors influencing ecosystem structure and functioning at local, regional, and global scales.
Mizan Tepi University