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The impact of sugarcane production on biodiversity related to land use change in Ethiopia

Semie, Tilahun K., Silalertruksa, Thapat, Gheewala, Shabbir H.
Global ecology and conservation 2019 v.18 pp. e00650
amphibians, biodiversity, birds, ecoregions, ethanol, ethanol production, extinction, guanosine triphosphate, land use change, mammals, models, plantations, reptiles, second growth, sugarcane, sugars, Ethiopia
Ethiopia produces sugar and ethanol from sugarcane as an integrated business. Ethanol production is expected to increase from 30,000 to over 300,000 metric tonnes per year in the second growth and transformation plan (GTP II) of 2020. In GTP II, the total sugarcane plantation area will be 320,000 ha. The intense acquisition of land for large-scale Ethiopian sugarcane plantations has a significant impact on biodiversity. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of sugarcane cultivation on terrestrial biodiversity of Ethiopia as well as on the global species status. Countryside species area relationship model was used to assess the number of species that might be driven to extinction because of land use. The impact was assessed by comparing the status of five taxa: mammals, birds, vascular plant, reptiles and amphibian of the same ecoregion in five broad land use type with three management intensity. The results show that sugarcane cultivation has significant impacts on biodiversity at two stages, which are transformation and occupation, with different magnitudes across five taxa in the three ecoregions. Recommendations for minimizing the impacts of sugarcane cultivation in Ethiopia are suggested including changing the management intensity from intense use to light use.