Communal land use system has existed in pastoral Afar (as in many other pastoral areas) since time of immemorial accommodating the interests of different user groups. This form of land use system, which has adapted to the harsh environment in which herders raise their livestock, enables efficient utilization of scattered pastoral resources since it accommodates constant mobility of livestock. In contrast to the mobile way of life, which characterizes pastoralism, farming as a sedentary activity is only marginally present in the lowlands of the Afar region. However, the traditional land-use system in Afar is changing nowadays if favor farming because of various reasons. This paper explains such changes mainly based the data collected through a household survey of 180 pastoral households inhabiting three districts of Afar region in Ethiopia. While drought is the major natural challenge that induced changes of the traditional land-use system in Afar, statistical analysis shows that there exists significant variation across sites and among pastoral households in regards to changes in the traditional land-use system. The variation is explained by factors such as suitability of the area for farming, wealth of households, external support for farming, and access to wage employment.


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