Introduction: Regional Challenges and Policy Questions

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date


Publication Title

Social and Ecological System Dynamics


Springer International Publishing

Publisher Location

Cham, CH


The Lake Tana Basin is the headwater catchment of the Upper Blue Nile River. This highly dynamic region is experiencing significant population, economic, ecosystem, environment and social changes, raising concerns about sustainable development at regional, national and international levels. About 85% of the approximately three million people that live in the basin currently work in the agricultural sector, but factors such as population growth, environmental degradation, and rising education levels are driving migration from rural to urban areas and putting pressure on urban infrastructure and economy. The strong links between the region’s human and environmental conditions mean that developing the region sustainably requires an understanding of its social and ecological characteristics as well as a framework for examining how the social system and the ecological system interact. This chapter describes key policy challenges in the region that motivated this book and lays out the structure of the sections and chapters that follow.



UNLV article access