Fostering Food Security and Climate Resilience Through Integrated Landscape Restoration Practices and Rainwater Harvesting/Management in Arid and Semi-arid Areas of Ethiopia



Land degradation and rainfall variability are severe problems affecting sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia is one of the countries in the region which is hugely impacted by these processes. To circumvent the impacts of these problems, the country has been involved in implementing various landscape restoration and water harvesting (LRWH) practices since the 1970s. However, the success of these efforts has been limited especially at the earlier periods. The major reasons include the top-down approach followed to implementation of the LRWH practices, mismatch between landscape characteristics and recommended LRWH options, lack of appropriate monitoring and maintenance of schemes, and low adoption rate by communities due to limited economic return from the interventions. Despite these bottlenecks, however, various achievements have been recorded in some parts of the country. In those areas, the interventions have significantly changed the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the areas. Understanding the key drivers that promoted successful restoration of landscapes and water resources could help in designing appropriate technologies and their implementation mechanisms. This study aims to assess the biophysical and socio-economic conditions that need to be fulfilled for LRWH technologies to be adopted and be effective and to enhance resilience to climate/rainfall variability. We critically reviewed five successful cases in Tigray region to understand the critical elements to be considered when identifying, introducing and managing LRWH options. The results show that promotion of integrated management practices considering the whole landscape continuum is essential for LRWH options to succeed and create resilience to climate variability. It is also observed that interventions should be designed considering both agro-ecological, land use/cover, soil, geomorphological, hydrogeological, socio-economic and institutional conditions of specific landscapes/watersheds.


Land degradation Landscape continuum Adoption drivers 



This research was undertaken with support from Africa RISING, a programme financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the United States Government’s Feed the Future Initiative. The content is solely the responsibility of the author/s and does not necessarily represent the official views of USAID or the US Government or that of the Africa RISING programme. Africa RISING is aligned with research programmes of the “CGIAR”. The Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) programme of the CGIAR has provided financial support to this research. The groundwater monitoring result is part of an ongoing long-term shallow groundwater monitoring which is supported by Mekelle University and Tigray Bureau of Water Resources, Ethiopia.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mekelle UniversityTigrayEthiopia
  2. 2.International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)Addis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)Addis AbabaEthiopia

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