The Impacts of Biofuel Expansion on the Resilience of Social-Ecological Systems in Ethiopia

Hodbod, Jennifer (2013) The Impacts of Biofuel Expansion on the Resilience of Social-Ecological Systems in Ethiopia. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis investigates biofuel expansion as a disturbance to the resilience of social-ecological systems. Examining this issue through a resilience framework illustrates the dynamics of such systems, identifying potential trade-offs and regime shifts. Additionally, this research highlights the differentiated impacts for actors across multiple scales, allowing power relations to be taken into account – the lack of which is a common criticism of resilience studies.
The thesis presents a systems analysis of sugarcane-ethanol expansion in Ethiopia at the current and planned levels of production, incorporating both the production and consumption sub-systems. To create an integrated systems analysis multiple methods were utilised between 2010 and 2012 to collect primary data – household surveys and interviews in multiple localities and interviews with key stakeholders, supplemented with documentary evidence. The production sub-system analysis incorporates food system impacts at the household scale and ecological impacts at the regional scale, whilst the consumption sub-system analysis investigates the impacts of ethanol adoption as a household fuel. The findings of these analyses are then synthesised in a resilience assessment at the national scale.
The results show that current levels of sugarcane and ethanol production have not surpassed the majority of potential critical thresholds that would induce regime shifts. Therefore, most of the sub-systems under study, and actors within them, are resilient to the perturbation of biofuel expansion to date. However, a detrimental regime shift is underway for pastoralists being relocated for sugarcane expansion. The planned expansion will replicate this regime shift across a much larger population. In addition, the larger scale of operation will more severely influence the ecological sub-system. The analysis of multiple nested scales using a resilience model demonstrates the need to examine all scales to highlight the winners and losers, as only examining one scale conceals the dynamic nature of interactions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 11:36
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:36


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