Zeleke, Gete, Amare Bantider and Hans Hurni. 2011. “Responses of rural households to the impacts of population and land-use changes along the Eastern Escarpment of Wello, Ethiopia.” Norwegian Journal of Geography 65:1: 42-53.
The article analyses the effects of changes in land cover and land use changes together with population changes on the livelihood of rural households, and also farming households' responses to these changes, in typical rural settings of north-eastern Ethiopia.
The study shows that the immediate impact of shrubland and forest increase since the late 1970s, coupled with population increase, is an exponential fall of per capita cropland and grazing land, which are the principal physical assets of livelihoods of the rural farming community in the area. Furthermore, the study reveals that the scarcity of cultivated land in the area neither brings about agricultural intensification nor leads to diversification into non-farm activities, and farmers did not respond to the scarcity of cultivated land through large out-migration. In general, the Boserupian assumption of land-use intensification through improved labour and land productivity did not happen in the region. Rather, the Malthusian thesis seems appropriate. The majority of farming households are destitute, unable to satisfy their own food demands, and live in absolute poverty. This situation has been brought about not only due to population pressure but also as a result of the policies that have been applied in all systems since the 1950s.