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Landscape research in Ethiopia : misunderstood or lost synergy?

  • Welemaram, Zbelo Tesfamariam
  • Nyssen, Jan
  • Poesen, Jean
  • Ghebreyohannes, Tesfaalem
  • Tafere, Kelemework
  • Zenebe, Amanuel
  • Deckers, Seppe
  • Van Eetvelde, Veerle
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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A full understanding of the concept of landscape plays a paramount role in sustainable management of natural resources and an increase of landscape studies. However, little is known about the concept of landscape, landscape research and its application in Ethiopia. Hence, the overall objective of this paper is to explore the concept of landscape and review available literatures on landscape research in Ethiopia and to identify research gaps. A questionnaire (n=30) was administered to explore the concept of landscape. A systematic review of available studies on landscape and related concepts has also been made. Out of the 398 papers in which the terms landscape' and Ethiopia' appeared in the title, keywords or abstract, 26 papers, having 10 or more keywords related to landscape research were included in this in-depth review. An exploratory study of art and media has been made to examine the perception of artists on landscapes. The results of the study show that the perception of Ethiopian artists on landscape is highly associated with concept of the landscape. The findings of the survey also reveal that the meaning of the term landscape differs semantically. The findings of the review also indicate that landscape studies carried out in Ethiopia do not fully cover the holistic concept of landscape; as they mostly focus more on physical features of the landscape. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach that integrates landscape ecology, perception and history, which is important for understanding landscapes and landscape changes, is also lacking. Generally, the concept of landscape seems to be misconceived in most studies undertaken in Ethiopia, mainly because it is interchangeably used with land use and land cover. Hence, there is a need for a better understanding of the concept of landscape and the applications of a holistic landscape approach.

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