Shimelis Tekletsadik, Sileshi Degefa, Fanuel Kebede
Babile Elephant Sanctuary (BES) is located in the semi-arid ecosystem between Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia. Natural resource use conflict is one of the major problems of the sanctuary. This study aimed to assess the root causes of conflicts and their impacts on the sanctuary. Data was collected using satellite imagery and household survey, focus group discussions and key informat interviews. One hundred fifty two households were used to carry out socio-economic surveys from three kebeles. Land use/land cover change analyses were made for a period of three decades (1989-2019). The study indicated that there is insignificant changes on the drivers of resource use conflict among respondents (p<0.05). 67 (44.1%) respondents believe that the main driving factor of resource use conflict to be resource scarcity; 64 (42.1%) poverty and 61 (40.1%) drought. The satellite image analyses revealed forest and grassland have been decreased whereas bare land, settlement, cultivated and bush lands have increased. Furthermore, human population increase has been found to be a prime cause for unsustainable resource use and decline of forests cover and size of grazing land. The current resource use conflict and change in the land use can be mitigated through boundary re-demarcation of the sanctuary and creation of alternative means of community livelihoods in collaboration with the concerned stakeholders. At the same time, law enforcement and community engagements are equally important.