Regardless of the current efforts to deter land degradation, improvements must be made to land use policies in Ethiopia to achieve transformative change over the long term. Such policies require cooperation and support from all levels of government.
The watershed is a platform for assessing policy changes that may be required in order to reverse degradation and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The project monitors impact of community-based soil and water conservation interventions in the watershed to select and fine-tune best practices that deliver benefits at field and watershed scales.
In the course of project activities, researchers are identifying and analyzing farmers’ perceptions of climate change, their vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change, and their adaptation strategies. Lessons learned, and sustainable land management practices that increase the resilience of production systems to climate change are being documented as public goods. Eventually recommendations will be synthesized for decision makers and development practitioners.
Without improved policies, current land use practices in the country will continue to result in severe land degradation and poorer rural communities. The loss of biodiversity, widespread soil erosion, disappearing streams and water bodies, shortage of fuel wood and fodder, and the lack of construction material will continue to result in deforestation. Policies must strive to find a balance between agriculture land use and sustainable forest management.