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Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics in the North-Eastern Somali Rangelands of Eastern Ethiopia

Fikre Zerfu, Abdurehman Mektel, Biniyam Bogale
International Journal of Geosciences , Volume 10, pp 811-832; doi:10.4236/ijg.2019.109046

Abstract: Drastic changes have occurred in Siti zone rangeland over nearly the last three decades, due to rapid land conversion dynamics in the area. In the zone, the land-use change over time and space and temporal trends rangeland condition have never been studied. This study analyzed land use and land cover (LULC) change dynamics since the 1980s. Three dates, 1985, 2001 and 2017, Landsat images were used for classification and analysis of the various LULC. The three images were geo-referenced, re-sampled and processed for classification, using the maximum likelihood classifier algorithm. Moreover, field observations and information from local people were used for triangulation to patterns LULC dynamics. From 1985 to 2017, the general trend observed in the land use/cover change in the rangeland resources in the study districts implies a loss of grassland cover was compensated by an increase in cultivated areas, settlement and shrub/bush land cover. Moreover, the encroachments of invasive plant, Prosopis, settlement and the promotion of cultivation to pastoral way of livelihood have exacerbated the decline of rangeland cover. The study findings have shown important changes in the LULC patterns in the north-eastern Somali rangelands of eastern Ethiopia. These trends are certainly the characteristics of a pastoral way of life turn to settlement. This suggests that major changes in the socio-ecological driving forces affecting landscape dynamics have occurred in the last three decades or so.
Keywords: land use / livelihood / land cover / LULC / Eastern Ethiopia / eastern Somali rangelands of eastern / north eastern Somali rangelands

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