Roadside Planting in Ethiopia: Turning a Problem into an Opportunity

Marta Agujetas Perez, Fredu Nega Tegebu, Frank van Steenbergen



Roads have both positive and negative impacts in the areas surrounding them. With the expansion of roads growing at an inexorable speed in Ethiopia and all Sub-Saharan Africa, these impacts need to be well understood. A questionnaire was used to gather information on road-related impacts on the rural population. A total of 529 sample households were selected in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. The three most common consequences cited by respondents in order of importance were dust, flooding and erosion. Close to 44% of the respondents said that the occurrence of dust has increased after construction of the road. The reduction of yield estimated by farmers ranges from 10% to 50%. Close to 11% of the sample households faced decline in crop production and income due to dust lifted up from roads. The breakpoint for road dust occurred approximately at 200 to 280 meters from the road. Roadside plantations along rural roads have proven to mitigate road-related impacts and restore the ecological balance. When linked to rural development programs, roadside planting can create employment while generating a reliable source of income for rural communities.

Full Text:



Al-Dabbous, A. N., and P. Kumar. 2014. The influence of roadside vegetation barriers on airborne nanoparticles and pedestrians exposure under varying wind conditions. Atmospheric Environment 90, 113-124.

Ali, I., and E. M. Pernia. 2003. Infrastructure and Poverty Reduction-What is the Connection? ERD Policy Brief Series, Economics and Research Department, No: 13

Brantley, H. L., G. S. Hagler, P. Deshmukh and R. Baldauf. 2014. Field assessment of the effects of roadside vegetation on near-road black carbon and particulate matter. Science of the Total Environment 468:120–129

Buys, U. P., U. Deichmann and D. Wheeler. 2006. Road network upgrading and overland trade expansion in sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Coffin, A.W. 2007. From roadkill to road ecology: a review of the ecological effects of roads. Journal of Transport Geography, 15, 396–406.

Dercon, S., D. O. Gilligan, J. Hoddinott and W. Tassew. 2008. The impact of agricultural extension and roads on poverty and consumption growth in fifteen Ethiopian villages. IFPRI Discussion Paper, 00840

Donnges, C. 1998. Rural access and employment: The Laos experience. ILO Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programmes: Rural Accessibility Technical Paper (RATP NO: 4)

Dulac, J. 2013. Global land transport infrastructure requirements: Estimating road and railway infrastructure capacity and costs to 2050. International Energy Agency. France

Fafchamps, M., B. Minten, G. and Eleni. 2005. Increasing returns and market efficiency in agricultural trade. Journal of Development Economics 78(2): 406-442.

Forman, R. T. T. 2003. Road ecology: Science and Solutions. Washington, DC: Island Press

Gallagher, J., Baldauf, R., Fuller, CH., Kumar, P., Gill, LW., and McNabola, A. 2015. Passive methods for improving air quality in the built environment: A review of porous and solid barriers. Atmospheric Environment, 120, 61-70

Gannon, C. and Z. Liu, 1997. Poverty and Transport. TWU discussion papers, TWU-30, World Bank, Washington, DC.

Garcia-Landarte Puertas, D., K. Woldearegay, L. Mehta, M. van Beusekom, M. Agujetas, and F. van Steenbergen. 2014. Roads for water: the unused potential. Waterlines, 33, 120-138.

Gebremedhin, B. and S. M. Swinton. 2000. Reconciling food-for-work project feasibility with food aid targeting in Tigray, Ethiopia. Food Policy 26(1): 85-95.

Greening, T. 2011. Quantifying the impacts of vehicle-generated dust: a comprehensive approach. Transport Research Support Program. Washington DC: World Bank

Jones, D.N., L. Bernede, A. R. F. Bond, C. Dexter, and C. L. Strong. 2015. Dust as a contributor to the road-effect zone: a case study from a minor forest road in Australia, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, pp.1-14.

Key, N., A. de Janvry, and E. Sadoulet. 2000. Transaction Costs and Agricultural Household Supply Response. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 82(2): 245-259.

Krzyżanowski, M., B. Kuna-Dibbert, and J. Schneider. 2005. Health effects of transport-related air pollution. WHO Regional Office, Europe

Leghari, S. K., M. A. Zaid, A. A. Sarangzai, M. Faheen, and W. Ali. 2013. Effect of road side dust pollution on the growth and total chlorophyll content in Vitis vinifera L.(graps). African Journal of Biotechnology, 13(11) pp: 1237-124

Maher, B.A., I. A. M. Ahmed, B. Davison, V. Karloukovski, and R. Clarke. 2013. Impact of roadside tree lines on indoor concentrations of traffic-derived particulate matter. Environmental Science & Technology 47, 13737-13744.

McCrea, P.R. 1984. An Assessment of the Effects of Road Dust on Agricultural Production Systems. Lincoln College, New Zealand: Agricultural Economics Research Unit. (Research Report No 156).

Neema, N. M. and J. Jahan. 2014. An innovative approach to mitigate vehicular emission through roadside greeneries: A case study on arterial roads of Dhaka city. Journal of Data Analysis and Information Processing 2, 32

Nordstrom, K. F., and S. Hotta. 2004. Wind erosion in the USA: A review of problems, solutions and prospects. Geoderma 121:157-167.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers. 2014. Trends, challenges and future outlook: Capital projects and infrastructure in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa.

Rahman, J. K. 2015. Response of Two Crop plants to Dust Deposition. Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 27(2), 1-6.

Raballand, G., P. Macchi, and C. Petracco. 2010. Rural road investment efficiency: Lessons from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Uganda. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Rahul, J. and M. K. Jain. 2014. An Investigation in to the Impact of Particulate Matter on Vegetation along the National Highway: A Review. Research Journal of Environmental Sciences, 8 (7), p.356.

Saunders, P. J. W. and S. Godzik. 1986. Terrestrial vegetation-air pollutant interactions: non-gaseous air pollutants. In: Air Pollutants and Their Effects on the Terrestrial Ecosystem (Legge AH, Krupa SV, eds). Advances in Environmental Science and Technology (18), 389-394, Wiley, New York, USA

Shukla, J., V. Pandey, S. N. Singh, M. Yunus, N. Singh, and K. J. Ahmad. 1990. Effect of cement dust on the growth and yield of Brassica campestris L. Environmental Pollution. 66, 81-8.

Siyag, P.R. 2014. Afforestation, Reforestation and Forest Restoration in Arid and Semi-arid Tropics: A Manual of Technology & Management. Springer Science & Business Media

Tiwary, A., Morvan, H.P., Colls, J.J., 2005. Modelling the size-dependent collection efficiency of hedgerows for ambient aerosols. J. Aerosol Sci. 37, 990-1015.

Thompson, J.R., P. W. Mueller, W. Fluckiger, and A. J. Rutter. 1984. The effect of dust on photosynthesis and its significance for roadside plants. Environmental Pollution Series A, 34, 171–190.

Tong, Z., T.H. Whitlow, P.F. MacRae, A.J. Landers, and Y. Harada. 2016. Quantifying the effect of vegetation on near-road air quality using brief campaigns. Environmental Pollution 201, 141-149.

Weber, F., I. Kowarik, and I. Saeumel. 2014. Herbaceous plants as filters: immobilization of particulates along urban street corridors. Environ. Pollut. 186, 234-240.

Xu, X., K. Zhang, Y. Kong, J. Chen, and B. Yu. 2006. Effectiveness of erosion control measures along the Qinghai-Tibet plateau highway, Tibetan plateau, China. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 11, 302–309

Zia-Khan, S., W. Spreer, Y. Pengnian, X. Zhao, H. Othmanli, X. He, and J. Müller. 2014. Effect of dust deposition on stomatal conductance and leaf temperature of cotton in northwest China. Water, 7, 116–131.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Sustainability in Environment

Copyright © SCHOLINK INC.  ISSN 2470-637X (Print)  ISSN 2470-6388 (Online)