Large-scale Land Acquisitions in Ethiopia: Implications for Ecosystem Services

Authors: Audrey Smith*, University of Florida
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Africa
Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Large-scale Land Acquisitions (LSLA), Land-use Change, Land Tenure, Ethiopia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The concept of ecosystem services (ES) centers around multiple interactions between ecosystems and human well-being and is adopted in high-level policy frameworks such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and the Ecosystem Services. However, there are few studies on ecosystem provisioning in less-developed countries where societies are highly dependent on ES. Land system change has far-reaching implications for ecosystem services provisioning. Large-scale land transactions (LSLAs) are major drivers of land use and cover change in less-developed countries where they have become increasingly common. In Ethiopia, LSLAs result in major shifts in land tenure and land use and are hypothesized to reduce local food and energy security, alter landscape mosaics that support biodiversity, and diminish co-production of ES by both ecological and social systems. This paper reviews the literature on recent LSLAs in Ethiopia, identifying spatio-temporal components and management characteristics of individual transaction sites, the local socio-ecological systems in which they occur, and implications for ecosystem services that are important for environmental and human well-being. Given the complexity of human-environment interactions and the importance of feedbacks and off-site effects in ecosystem and social processes, careful a research design and modeling approach is important in ES studies. This review will serve as a background and basis for a quantitative analysis of the effects of LSLAs on ecosystem services in Ethiopia.

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