Ethiopia is experiencing a huge land use and land cover dynamics from natural vegetation to farming practices and human settlement. The problem is more severe in the highlands without giving sufficient attention although it accounts nearly 44% of total landmass, home for 85% of the countries human, 75% of livestock populations, and origin of more than 90% of the agricultural products. Scientifically backed information on land use/land cover necessary for developing appropriate land use planning is still lacking. This far proper planning has been constrained mainly due to cost and infrastructural problems that limit the use of huge data sets necessary for such planning. However, in recent years the uses of geo-informatics techniques (That is GIS and Remote Sensing) have become very useful tools in analyzing and modeling land use /land cover dynamics at landscape level. Such modeling processes can also help to formulate current and future causes and the consequences by developing different plausible scenarios. These simulations expose unwanted developments in the land use system enabling to anticipate on these developments through land use planning. It is to fill part of such research gaps that this PhD research project is initiated.
The general objective of the research project is to investigate the potential of landscape level modeling for planning sustainable natural resource use and management in the highlands of Ethiopia. Image classification, photo interpretation, socio-economies survey, GPS readings and secondary sources will be used to generate the required data. A combination of technologies including remote sensing, GIS, and other modelling techniques will be used for data analysis. Aspects such as historical land use conversion rate, existing land use types, driving forces, economic consequences, and scenario modelling will be considered. The final outputs of the project are expected to bring useful directions for better landscape management options in the Ethiopian Highlands.