Towards integrated watershed management in highland Ethiopia: the Chemoga watershed case study

W. Bewket

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Resource degradation is a critical problem in highland Ethiopia. Past soil and water conservation efforts did not bring about significant results. Hence, there is an urgent need to tackle the problem through new conservation approaches and technologies. This thesis discusses the need for and possibilities of implementing integrated watershed management (IWM) approach. A typical highland watershed (the Chemoga watershed) was selected for the research, and multifaceted investigations were conducted on the extent, rate and processes of resource degradation and the existing resource-use and management practices. The results reveal that there are interlinked problems of resource degradation: expansion of croplands at the expense of natural vegetative covers, a high rate of soil erosion, adverse changes in some soil properties and depletion of the water resource. A strong physical interdependence was observed between upstream and downstream land uses both at the watershed and subwatershed scales. These facts suggest that IWM approach is the appropriate option for resource conservation in the Chemoga watershed in particular and highland Ethiopia in general. Effective implementation of the IWM approach will require: microwatershed-level planning and pursuing of farmer participatory processes, building upon indigenous knowledge systems and addressing of farmers priorities, ensuring of land tenure security, implementation of targeted and effective incentive systems and providing of client-oriented extension service.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Stroosnijder, Leo, Promotor
  • Sterk, Geert, Co-promotor
Award date19 Sep 2003
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789058088703
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • watershed management
  • land use
  • erosion control
  • farmers
  • participation
  • integrated systems
  • highlands
  • ethiopia
  • case studies

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