Land-use changes by large-scale plantations and their effects on soil organic carbon, micronutrients and bulk density: empirical evidence from Ethiopia

This article examines land-use changes by large-scale plantations in Ethiopia and evaluates the impacts thereof on soil organic carbon, micronutrients and bulk density. Remote sensing analysis and field research activities were undertaken at four large-scale plantation projects in Benshanguel Gumuz, Gambella, and Oromia regional states. Results show that the projects largely involved the conversion of both closed and open to closed forests and grasslands, which in turn reduced soil carbon stock and micronutrient levels and increased soil compaction. We argue that unless appropriate soil management activities and impact mitigation strategies are adopted by plantation proponents, these land-use changes will pose a serious threat to the long-term economic viability and sustainability of plantation agriculture in Ethiopia. This could undermine long-term ecosystem health and national food security.

This article appeared in Agriculture and Human Values, pp 1-16, first online: 09 November 2015 (subscr. access).

Author(s) / editor(s)

M. Shete, M. Rutten, G.C. Schoneveld, and E. Zewude

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Maru Shete is a PhD fellow at the Netherlands Academy for Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development (LANDac). He is being supervised by Prof. Ton Dietz (ASC), Prof. Annelies Zoomers (Utrecht University) and Dr. Marcel Rutten (ASC).

Marcel Rutten is a senior researcher at the ASC and a senior lecturer at Radboud University Nijmegen. His research activities concentrate on natural resource management, notably of land and water, in (semi-)arid Africa.

George Schoneveld is an Associate Expert with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Kenya.

Eylachew Zewude is affiliated with St. Mary’s University, Ethiopia.

How to order

Order this article with Springer International Publishing.