Khat expansion and forest decline in Wondo Genet, Ethiopia
2008 (English)In: Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, ISSN 0435-3684, E-ISSN 1468-0467, Vol. 90, no 2, 187-203 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study analyses the expansion of khat productionin relation to forest decline in the Wondo Genet area in southcentralEthiopia. By assessing spatial variables and social factors,and using remote sensing and social survey techniques, the extentto which this new cash crop contributes to deforestation is explored.The results indicate that khat has expanded rapidly in terms ofland area used for its production at forest frontiers, in isolated forestpatches and within farmland since the mid-1980s. This ismainly due to high economic advantage, high market demand andfavourable means of transport as well as the existence of a cohesivetrade network. Moreover, the properties of the crop also facilitateexpansion. The increased production of khat appears to bea result of conscious choice and rational decisions made by malefarmers, regardless of religious, cultural and policy discouragementand despite khat’s possible negative impact on livelihood security.Although it is found that khat expansion does not explain forestdecline in the study area per se, it plays an important role in enhancingmultifaceted interaction between people and forest. Theexpansion influences forest decline directly by conversion, andindirectly through increased human activity in proximity to forests.The conversion has resulted in a reduction of forest area, resilienceand regeneration. Khat production has changed humansettlement patterns, suppressed production of other crops and influencedwomen’s income negatively. These aspects increase thedemand for wood and it renders the forest an important source ofsupplementary incomes. Khat production may create tension, resultingfrom a conflict in interest between sustaining the nativeforests, with subsequent environmental benefits for the larger socialgroup, and the economically driven choice land use made bykhat farmers.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 90, no 2, 187-203 p.
khat, Ethiopia, Wondo Genet, deforestation, cash crop, human–environment interaction.
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24296DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0467.2008.00286.xISI: 000256492800007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24296DiVA: diva2:197175
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68402007-05-242007-05-032012-03-27Bibliographically approved