Forest Ecology and Management vol:304 pages:171-181
This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of deforestation processes of moist evergreen Afromontane
forests by disentangling the role of biophysical and socio-economic factors. Hitherto deforestation patterns between 1957 and 2007 were mapped for 9 villages in the Jimma zone of the Oromia regional state in Southwest Ethiopia on the basis of aerial photographs and high- resolution satellite images. The results show a 19% decline in forest cover since 1957. A spatial analysis of the observed deforestation patterns showed that the way of living and the accessibility to markets has controlled to
a large extent the spatial pattern of deforestation during the past 50 years. Forest was lost mainly at remote locations away from the main roads where market integration is difficult. Farmers in these locations are relatively poor and self-subsistent which implies that population increase automatically led to new deforestation. Places very nearby to market places were spared from deforestation because of the presence of off-farm jobs in the towns. Significantly less deforestation was observed in areas that are suitable
for the growth of shaded coffee. The areas above 2000 m.a.s.l that are not suited for shaded coffee are typically inhabited by relatively poor households who are living far from roadsides and thus are less integrated to the surrounding major markets. As a result, they depend more on subsistence farming causing more deforestation than other households.