Characterizing Small-scale Farmers Differential Vulnerability to Global Environmental Change: Case Studies in Anger Watershed, Southwestern Ethiopia

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wollega University, Gimbi, Ethiopia.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.



Purpose: Global environmental change of climate variability and land use dynamics are emerging livelihood challenges facing local poor. Although, the synergetic impacts of these processes have been cognate in Ethiopia, vulnerability researches were fixed to climate variability, inadequate on conceptual and methodological considerations of non-climate stressors. To this attention, we assessed small-scale farmers’ vulnerability situations in Anger watershed of southwestern Ethiopia.

Methods: The case study design guided by mixed methods approach was used. Multistage sampling technique was used for the study. The data collected from 335 household heads were analyzed by multivariate analysis, measures of differences, and substantiated by qualitative enquiry based on focus group discussions and observations.

Result: Household’s vulnerability magnitude ranges from high to moderate, while in aggregate, kolla agroecology was more vulnerable than highland. The effects of social adaptability and sensitivity to land resources were significantly contributed for the vulnerability differences. Although, climate variability was notable, structural land use dynamics was unequivocal stressor deepened the household’s vulnerability in kolla.

Conclusions: Vulnerability is the result of interactive and interconnected processes of climate, non-climate stressors, and households’ internal capacity in the study area. Thus, attributing local vulnerability to only climate variability, neglecting local non-climatic disturbances could mislead development planning. Hence, future studies should consider such processes simultaneously to provide comprehensive evidences on vulnerability situations. The national adaptations program needs to integrate climate change with the emerging other global changes in planning rural resilience. Policy fortifying agricultural investments should synchronize win-win strategy for relationships between investors and local community.