Drivers of land cover changes and impacts on conservation of protected area buffer zones, Tanzania

  • Herman Nicholaus Nyanda

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    Drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes are complex and interrelated. With more than 83% of rural residents in areas rich of natural resources in Kisarawe district- Tanzania, spatial assessment of land cover becomes necessary to identify the main drivers of LULC changes. The study aimed at examining LULC changes using satellite-derived data from 1995 to 2015 in rural wards of Kisarawe district. Two wards that were spatially analysed are Vikumbulu, which is close to Selous game reserve and Masaki, which is close to Dar-es-salaam. A variety of demographic and socio-economic data from Kisarawe district and Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics (TNBS) were linked to spatially analysed data for intepretation and discussion. It also compared the status of LULC in the two wards in relation to their distance from Dar-es-salaam and the likely impacts on Selous game reserve buffer zones. Three cloud-free landsat image dates of 1998, 2011 and 2015 were classified and statisticaly analysed using SAGA GIS. Four categories of land covers were used (forest, wooded grassland, riverine and bare land/settlements/cultivation). Bare land, settlements and cultivation were combined to avoid spectral confusion. Statistical analysed data was imported to Ms Excel and pivot table for graphs and interpretations.

    The findings show a decreasing trend of forest and wooded grassland cover in Masaki and Vikumbulu wards between 1998 and 2015. Rapid conversion of forest cover to bare land, grassland, settlements and cultivation occurred between 1998 and 2011 in Masaki ward and then followed by Vikumbulu ward from 2011 to 2015. Small cropped-land in both wards (5% in Masaki and 0.15% in Vikumbulu) suggests charcoal burning, shifting cultivation and logging are likely drivers of land cover changes in these wards. However, the rapid population increase in Masaki ward might also be the cause of land cover changes, due to increased cultivated area and energy needs. Depletion of natural resources and the rapid land cover changes in these wards threatens protected area buffer zones, Selous game reserve and the rural livelihood strategies in general. Since most of the rural population depend on natural resources, policy planning should focus on community livelihood strategies and development of entrepreneurship skills on sustainable and wise utilization of natural resources.
    Date of AwardDec 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRohan Fisher (Supervisor) & Kamaljit Sangha (Supervisor)

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