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Uncovering ecosystem services of expropriated land

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:the case of urban expansion in Bahir Dar, Northwest Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, urban expansion happens at high rates and results in land expropriations often at the cost of agriculture and forests. The process of urban expansion does not include assessment of ecosystem services (ES). This has been causing unintended environmental problems. This study aims to uncover ES of three most important land use types (cropland, agroforestry, and grassland) that are threatened by land expropriation for urban expansion in Bahir Dar City. The study applied a participatory approach using community perception and expert judgments (N = 108). Respondents were asked to locate their perceptions on the use of 35 different ES, and then to evaluate the potential of the land use. Respondents were shown to have the ability to differentiate between ES and land use in terms of their potential to deliver ES. The results show that agroforestry is expected to have a high relevant potential to deliver 31% of all ES, but cropland 20% and grassland 14%. Food, fodder, timber, firewood, fresh water, energy, compost, climate regulation, erosion prevention, and water purification and treatment were identified as the ten most important services. It is not only the provisioning services that are being supplied by the land use types which are expropriated for urbanization, but also regulating, supporting and cultural services. To ensure sustainable urban land development, we suggest the consideration of the use of ES and the potential of the land use to supply ES when making land use decisions, including land expropriation for urban expansion.
Journal: Land
Volume: 9
Number of pages: 20
Publication year:2020