Predicted land use and land cover outlook for semi-arid Lokere and Lokok catchments in Karamoja region, Uganda
The semi-arid Lokere and Lokok catchments in northeastern Uganda are experiencing land use and land cover (LULC) change driven by policies and actions aimed at pastoralist sedentarisation. While these efforts present a trajectory of a landscape dominated by farming, livestock herding or grazing persists. The objective of this study was to project medium, and long-term LULC for Lokere and Lokok catchments in Karamoja, Uganda. We applied automatic multi-perceptron neural network, built on Markov chain modeling method, along with multi-criteria evaluation strategies; all embedded in the IDRISI Land Change Modeler (LCM) to project the catchments’ LULC to the year 2030 and 2050. The model was trained using 1994 and 2003 LULC, and validated with 2013 LULC. Results of three modelled policy scenarios; business as usual (BAU), pro-livestock and pro-farming; to the years 2030 and 2050 showed that small scale farming (SSF) would increase in all scenarios, even if policy shifts to promote livestock rearing. Pro-farming policies would, in both 2030 and 2050, result in reduction of grassland as SSF increases; doubling the 2003 land area by 2050. The results of this study facilitate assessment of potential impacts of the future LULC and policy evaluation in the catchments.