Interest groups, local knowledge and community management of wetland agriculture in South-West Ethiopia

Afework Hailu, Adrian P. Wood, Alan Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Western Ethiopia, the sustainability of wetland agriculture is being threatened by increasing food insecurity, market penetration and population pressure. Drainage of entire wetlands and intensive cultivation have impacted negatively upon wetland hydrology and biodiversity and the livelihood of several groups of people, while providing an improved livelihood for a small group of middle income farmers. However, communities in western Ethiopia have developed over the decades a body of local knowledge about wetlands which includes a series of practices that can contribute towards wetland management. Such strategies for sustainable wetland use are characterised by mixed use of wetlands, where agriculture exists alongside other land uses, such as sedges for thatching, medicinal plants and craft materials. Water sources are also protected by less intensive wetland use. Such mixed land use regimes mean that a wide range of the community members can maintain a long term livelihood from the different wetland uses. It is critical that methods for promoting and empowering indigenous multiple-use management systems are identified and incorporated into national policy as this is the most effective way of achieving the sustainable use of wetlands and of meeting the livelihood needs of a large range of beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003


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