An assessment of the spatial and temporal changes of Mabira tropical forest reserve and its environs, Central Uganda
Uganda’s forest cover has under gone radical changes in the past century with conflicting views being expressed on the ecological benefits versus economic value. This study presents the dynamics of land use/cover changes in and around Mabira Central Forest Reserve (CFR) between the period 1970 and 2015. A series of Landsat TM/ETM+ images were used to characterize ecological changes and socio-economic data was used to assess the dynamics of land use/cover changes. The classification results showed significant losses in wetlands for the period 1975-2000, while for the period between 2000 and 2015, the greatest losses were realized in forest cover. The gain in land use/cover changes occurred in subsistence farmlands between 1975 and 2000 whereas between 2000 and 2015, it was seen in the built-up class. The overall image classification accuracy achieved was 100%, 100%, 79% and 76% for the years 1975, 1986, 2000 and 2015, respectively. The logistic regression results revealed that the significant drivers of land use/ cover changes were: the high household size, perceived loss of soil fertility, poor agricultural practices, establishment of roadside markets, industrialization, and unclear forestry boundaries (P<0.05). The non-significant drivers included the low education levels, establishment of power grids, insecurity, political interference, and weak enforcement of environmental laws. This study is among those that seek to contribute evidence that stakeholders may use to continue to advocate for demarcation of forest boundaries, enforcement of forestry laws and land use planning critical in the sustainable utilization of forest products and biodiversity conservation.
Key words: Remote sensing, land use, land cover, change detection