Vegetation Cover Changes due to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Bukombe-Mbogwe Forest Reserve in Geita Region, Tanzania

  • P. Pancrace Department of Policy Planning and Management, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania
  • R.J. Salanga Department of Development and Strategic Studies, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania
  • M.C.S. Lalika Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania
Keywords: Vegetation cover - artisanal mining - Bukombe-Mbogwe - forest reserve - NDVI technique - land use/cover


Bukombe-Mbogwe Forest Reserve (BMFR) has substantially lost its vegetation cover following Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM). The study aimed at examining vegetation cover changes in BMFR and surrounding villages due to ASGM in Mbogwe District. Purposive and random sampling were employed obtaining 138 respondents. Data was collected through remote sensing, participant observation, questionnaire survey, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Landsat images of three window periods (1984, 2002 and 2020) were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and supervised classification of Maximum Likelihood (ML) algorithm techniques respectively. Descriptive and content analysis were conducted for quantitative and qualitative socio-economic data respectively.  By using NDVI technique, median values decreased in BMFR from 0.57 (dense vegetation) to 0.34 (shrubs and grasslands). Land use/cover changes (LULCC) for 1984 to 2020 proved that there was decrease in dense vegetation from 46.4% to 25.62%, bare-land from 43.23% to 20.06% and increase in sparse vegetation from 9.4% to 46.86% and built-up land from 0.97% to 7.46%. Logs for pit construction were extracted from BMFR by 67.5%. Therefore; ASGM has negatively changed vegetation cover in BMFR and surrounding villages. The paper recommends increasing protection in BMFR by employing Joint Forest Management (JFM).


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2408-8137
print ISSN: 2408-8129