Anthropogenical Drivers on Land Use/Cover Change and their Implications to Rural Livelihood in Kilombero Wetlands, Tanzania
Anthropogenic activities and their influences are well-known around the globe; their intensity and severity are higher in ecosystems rich in biodiversity and natural resources such as tropical forests and wetlands. This paper examined the influence of anthropogenic drivers on land use/cover change and their implications to rural livelihoods and wetland resources in Kilombero wetlands. Different methods including household questionnaire survey, key informants interview, focus group discussion, wealth ranking and participatory field observation were used in data collection. Remote sensing techniques were used to analyze satellite images – namely, Land sat MSS of 1975 and Land sat TM of 2010 scenes to trace spatial and temporal land use/cover changes. The study observed spatial and temporal changes in land use/cover mainly agricultural land use expansion and intensification, expansion of human settlementsand decreased forests and woodlands cover. Further, the study established that, the anthropogenic drivers to these changes were high population growth, removal of subsidies on agricultural input and the growing market demands for different agricultural and forest products, coupled with improved road and railway infrastructures. Moreover, other factors include rainfall variability and increased temperatures have also fuelled land use/cover changes. As a result of such changes, households have opted for diverse livelihood strategies to adapt the impacts of land use/cover changes depending on their ownership of livelihood assets, which varied from one socio economic group to another. In this context, the well-off group were found to have more livelihood assets that influence them to cope with situation as compared to medium and low wealth groups which possess relatively less assets. The study recommended to the government to facilitate participatory land use planning at village level, agro-forestry, provision of extensions services, and modern family planning services to check overpopulation for sustainable land use and improvement of rural livelihoods in and beyond the study area.
Keywords: Land use/cover changes, population growth, rural livelihoods, Land Use Plan