Harnessing Insights from Indicators-Based Resilience Assessment for Enhancing Sustainability in the Gurage Socio-Ecological Production Landscape of Ethiopia

In Environmental Management
Peer-reviewed Article
cover image

Even though the mosaic of different land-use/land-cover types has long contributed to the resilience of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes in Ethiopia, recent data indicate that their sustainability is under threat. This study aims to evaluate landscape resilience by adopting a set of indicators for enhancing sustainability in the Gurage socio-ecological production landscape in Ethiopia. The authors employed a toolkit of indicators in the production landscape through a community-based scoring approach (1–5 Likert scale). The information from household surveys, land-use/land-cover analysis, and satellite-based drought incidents assessment was integrated with the ranking analysis to support the evaluations. The results revealed that landscape diversity, ecosystem protection, local governance, and social equity indicators had the highest landscape resilience ranks. In contrast, lower ranks are associated with knowledge, innovation, livelihoods, and well-being indicators. The overall resilience of the Gurage socio-ecological production landscape was estimated to be below average. Thus, strategies that enhance the resilience and sustainability of this socio-ecological landscape are essential. The findings could help draw the attention of policymakers and natural resource managers to building and strengthening the resilience of the landscape. This study demonstrates that indicators could aid in evaluating landscape resilience status along with other ancillary information, particularly in data-sparse regions. Methods of assessing resilience must be creative in such regions, and this paper may inform such efforts. In addition, the study recommends that landscape resilience indicators be improved by reducing subjective matter and including spatial-explicit dimensions for evaluating resilience.

M. Subramanian