On 7 July 2015, Mr. Ermias Teferi Demessie successfully presented and defended his PhD thesis and was awarded with a Doctoral degree. His research focused on past-present-future land use in the Blue Nile and impacts on hydrology. Professor Stefan Uhlenbrook was his promotor.
Human beings strongly depend on the sustainable availability of resources, such as food, water and energy. The continued supply of these resources can only be assured by sustainable land uses but these are easily threatened by inappropriate human activities. Human behavior is intermingled with hydrological, biogeochemical, atmospheric and ecological processes through land use and land cover change (LULCC). LULCC is a locally pervasive and globally significant environmental trend and has become a process of paramount importance to the study of global environmental change.
Mr. Demessie's thesis investigates LULCC and its links with soil hydrology, soil degradation and climate variability through combining results from fieldwork, laboratory work and Remote Sensing. Seasonal, inter-annual and broad timescale land transitions are analyzed for a robust identification of biophysical change. The determinants of LULCC are determined using spatially explicit statistical modelling of most systematic land transitions.
The thesis explores soil hydrological impacts of LULCC for a better soil water management and further explores the climatic factors leading to the observed trends in vegetated land cover for improved understanding of the link between climate and carbon fixation and water use by vegetation.