Forest ecosystem services and resilience of the social ecological system in a protected forest of the central highland of Ethiopia
Human activities play a major role in many of the changes in the biosphere, including landscape modification and biodiversity loss. In order to maintain the remaining biodiversity and ecological systems, setting aside of park boundaries has been practiced for the last several decades. However the outcome does not produce sufficient result as in most cases, it rarely considers the involvement of the social component of the environment. Menagesha Suba State forest, which is located in the central highlands of Ethiopia, has been also under strict protection for several decades. Despite this fact, both the periphery and the inside of the forest are deteriorating as a result of agricultural land expansion and fuel wood extractions. Considering these problems, several researches have been carried out in the area. However, attention is only given to the specific aspects of the problems, and there is a scanty knowledge on the social and ecological interactions and their consequences on ecosystem services and livelihood of the community. In Menagesha Suba forest, ecosystem benefits are widely recognized, but poorly understood. It is not also clear how to conserve and manage the forest for improved ecosystem services, while ensuring increased resilience for community livelihoods. The objective of this research is to understand the mentioned research gap through investigating the land use and land use change influences of the social ecological systems of the forest. The study will also assess the valuation of forest resources and opportunities of payment for ecosystem services of Menagesha Suba Forest. In order to carry out this work, research methods to assess biodiversity and forest ecosystem services accounting will be employed. Choice modelling and semi-structured questionnaire will be applied for assessing ecosystem valuation and community livelihood resilience. Tradeoff analysis of forest ecosystem services will be conducted with the application of FALLOW and other similar models. The outcomes of this research will be useful for appropriate management of the ecological and the social components of the forest resources.