Abstract

This study analyses land use and land cover changes that occurred in the commercial farming region of Chiredzi district in Zimbabwe between 1989 and 2012. It analysed the current arrangement of land use and land cover and the changes in land use and land cover over the 23 years along with the extent of changes that have occurred as well as the causes and impacts of the changes detected. Land use and land cover changes were determined from maximum likelihood supervised classification and interpretation of 1989, 1999, 2007 and 2012 Landsat TM satellite imagery while the drivers and impacts were noted using observations and secondary data. The results showed that cultivated land had expanded at the expense of bushland. Cultivated fields and bush land areas generally concentrated in the same locality and this was assumed to be a result of the arid conditions within the district. These changes in land use pattern and spread were mainly attributed to encroachment and expansion of agriculture; bush land clearance for firewood collection and construction, population increase due to resettlement and to a lesser extent the general arid conditions associated with climate change. The study recommends that further studies be undertaken to establish the consequences of sugarcane production on natural carbon sequestration processes such that further bushland losses will not pose detrimental environmental effects.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1684-4173
Print ISSN
1027-1775
Pages
pp. 119-142
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-19
Open Access
No
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