Implication of Socio-economic Factors on Land Use and Forest Cover Changes in and Around Magamba Nature Reserve in Tanzania
Perception of Local Stakeholders
Rural settlements in mountainous regions are a typical process that occurs in many places around the world and have a number of implications on the landscape. Among them is a threat it possesses to the conservation and management of Afromontane ecosystems. This study assessed the socio-economic factors that drive the changes in land use and forest cover and the extent of land use and vegetation cover in and around Magamba Nature Reserve. Focus group discussion, direct field observation and household survey were used to acquire socio-economic information that impacts land use and forest cover. Through the use of Remote Sensing and GIS methods Landsat satellite images of 1995, 2008 and 2015 were employed to identify the extent of the changes in land use and forest cover. The perceived factors for the changes include education level, unemployment, landless/limited, landholding, population pressure, expansion of built-up areas and agricultural land at the expense of other land covers. This study revealed the transformation of natural forest and associated vegetation from one form to another. There was a decrease in natural vegetation from 61.06% in 1995 to 26.02% in 2015 and increase in built-up areas by 6.69% and agricultural areas by 4.70%. This study recommends conservation monitoring and strong law enforcement relating to natural resources so as to promote sustainable use of resources to rescue the diminishing ecosystem services.
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