Land Cover Dynamics in Tanzania Part of Kagera River Basin: A Strategy for Sustainability of Lake Victoria

Land Cover Dynamics in Tanzania Part of Kagera River Basin: A Strategy for Sustainability of Lake Victoria

This study is reporting on an investigation done to assess land cover dynamics in Tanzania part of Kagera River Basin (KRB) over a period of 21 years i.e.1990-2011 using Remote Sensing, Hydrology and GIS as a basis for initiating policy interventions for sustainability of Lake Victoria ecosystem. Hitherto, the extent of land cover changes in the KRB have not been quantified with the view of assessing the extent of exploitation of the natural resources in the area and its subsequent impact on the trans-boundary Lake Victoria water resource. The assessment is important firstly, for identification of causative factors and secondly, as a mechanism for formulating necessary interventions to that effect. Specifically, Landsat 5, Landsat 7 and ETM+ (2000) satellite images were used. Eight Land Cover classes were identified namely, Forests, Woodland, Bush land, Cultivated Land, Swamps, Grassland, Bare land and Urban areas. Hydrographical data were used to assess changes in quantity of water flowing from the KRB into Lake Victoria and relating it with land cover dynamics in KRB at in the period of study. Spatial data processing, analysis and interpretation were carried out in ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS software environments; while water quantity data and other non-spatial data were processed and analyzed in Microsoft Excel application 2007.  The study revealed a significant decline of vegetation cover and water quantity discharged from Kagera River to Lake Victoria over the study period. This contravenes the Global efforts of ecological sustainability, urging avoidance of depletion of natural resources for maintenance for ecological balance. These results are early warning to the Management of Lake Victoria of its potential failure towards achievement the Millennium Development Goal on responsible consumption and protection of natural resources in proximity of Lake Victoria. The Management of Lake Victoria in collaboration with other relevant authorities should thus, initiate remedial measures to control none strategic use of vegetation cover in KRB for sustainability of Lake Victoria and its ecosystem.

Author (s) Details

Martine Hagai
Department of Geospatial Sciences and Technology, School of Earth Sciences, Real Estate, Business and Informatics, Ardhi University, P.O. Box 35176, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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