Land Degradation in the Ethiopian Highlands

Jan Nyssen*, Jean Poesen, Sil Lanckriet, Miro Jacob, Jan Moeyersons, Mitiku Haile, Nigussie Haregeweyn, R.N. Munro, Katrien Descheemaeker, Enyew Adgo, Amaury Frankl, Jozef Deckers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


The high soil erosion rates in the Ethiopian highlands find their causes in the combination of erosive rains, steep slopes due to the rapid tectonic uplift during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, and human impact by deforestation, overgrazing, agricultural systems where the open field dominates, impoverishment of the farmers, and stagnation of agricultural techniques. Travelling in the Ethiopian highlands, one can see many soil and water conservation structures. Indigenous knowledge and farmers’ initiatives are integrated with these introduced technologies at various degrees. This chapter addresses the status and drivers of land degradation in northern Ethiopia, including changes over the last century.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Geomorphological Landscapes
EditorsP. Billi
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789401780261
ISBN (Print)9789401780254
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2015

Publication series

NameWorld Geomorphological Landscapes
ISSN (Print)2213-2090
ISSN (Electronic)2213-2104


  • Desertification
  • Slope processes
  • Soil and water conservation
  • Soil erosion

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    Nyssen, J., Poesen, J., Lanckriet, S., Jacob, M., Moeyersons, J., Haile, M., Haregeweyn, N., Munro, R. N., Descheemaeker, K., Adgo, E., Frankl, A., & Deckers, J. (2015). Land Degradation in the Ethiopian Highlands. In P. Billi (Ed.), World Geomorphological Landscapes (pp. 369-385). (World Geomorphological Landscapes). Springer.