Impacts of agricultural land expansion on vegetation cover in Tanqua Abergele Woreda, Northern Ethiopia
The main objective of this study was to assess the causes of Agricultural land expansion and its impacts on vegetation cover in Tanqua Abergele Woreda, in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Both primary and secondary data were used in this study. The primary data was collected from the households of Limat, Sheka-Tekli and Selam Kebeles using a questionnaire, interview, field observation and Focus group discussion methods. Secondary data was collected from the Woreda agricultural and rural development office published and unpublished reports. After collecting all the necessary information, data analysis was carried out. Descriptive data analysis, table, bar graph, chart, and inferential statistical techniques such as correlation, regression, chi-square, and paired sample t-test have been used. The result shows a strong positive correlation between the agricultural expansion and the number of population, which was statistically significant (r= 0.919, n = 10 years, P < 0.000) and 85% of the variance in population size was influenced for actual agricultural expansion is due to change in population size (r2 = 0.85). This shows that the farmers and their demand for farmland followed by farmland expansion has adversely affected the land resulting in land degradation in the study area. Similarly, a positive weak correlation between hectare covered by crop and harvesting time was obtained (r = 0.26, n = 135, p < 0.002). It was a statistically significant association between before and after water availability in m3 ((t = 1.83), r-0 .914, df = 9, p< 0.05)), it was a strong positive correlation between the agricultural expansion per hectare and the rate of deforestation, which was statistically significant, based on r is 0.817 in the last 10 years and at a significant level of 0.004. The major impacts of farmland expansion include education in agriculture plot size, loss of fertility, crop land-use change in bare land, and soil degradation. Therefore, the researcher can put a recommendation on land use and land cover will free that the households from the negative impacts of agricultural land expansion on vegetation cover.