Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics in Eastern Pastoral Rangelands of Somali Region, Ethiopia

Fikre Zerfu Takele


Drastic changes have occurred in Harshin district rangeland management over nearly the last two decades, due to rapid spread of fencing of 'private' grazing areas, contrary to the communal ownership pattern that informal institutions govern. In Harshin district, the land use change over time and space and temporal trends rangeland condition have never  been studied relative to the effects of long term management changes. This study analyzed land use and land cover (LULC) change dynamics since 1980s. Three dates, 1984, 1998 and 2014, Landsat images were used for classification and analysis of the various LULC. The three images were geo-referenced, re-sampled and processed for classification, using the maximum likelihood classifier algorithm. The best Kappa hat statistic of classification accuracy was 85%. The results of the classification over the three periods showed that settlement and bare land increased from 7325 hectare (ha) in 1984 to 18,720 ha in 1998. Grassland decreased by 8010 ha over the same period and increased by 53,230 ha by the 2014; shrub land also decreased by 9471 ha and 31,196 ha in 1998 and 2014, respectively. Woodland increased by 6176 ha in 1998, however; it decreases by 33,175 ha in 2014. The study findings have shown important changes in the LULC patterns in the district. The bare land, coupled with shrub land reduction between 1984 and 1998, substantial increments in bare land, settlement land uses, and grassland coverage, while a substantial decrease in woodland coverage were found between 1998 and 2014. These trends are certainly the characteristics of pastoral way of life turn to settlement. This suggests that major changes in the socio-ecological driving forces affecting landscape dynamics have occurred in the last two decades or so.

Keywords: Harshin district, Land use land cover dynamics, Rangeland, Remote sensing

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/9-6-03

Publication date:June 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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