Main content area

Deforestation and loss of bushland and grassland primarily due to expansion of cultivation in mainland Tanzania (1995–2010)

Nzunda, Emmanuel F., Midtgaard, Fred
Journal of sustainable forestry 2019 v.38 no.6 pp. 509-525
deforestation, forests, grasslands, land use, planning, shrublands, Tanzania
Information on land use and cover changes (LUCC) is important for planning of conservation and development and thus ensure forest sustainability. The current paper assesses LUCC for the whole of the mainland Tanzania. The analyses were done using land use and cover maps covering the whole of mainland Tanzania for 1995 and 2010. For 1995, forest, bushland, grassland, cultivation and other land use and cover (built up areas, bare land, etc.) covered 43.5%, 19.8%, 23.5%, 11.2%, and 2.0% of the study area, respectively. For 2010, the same land use and cover classes covered 38.0%, 14.5%, 6.9%, 36.5%, and 4.1% of the study area, respectively. The annual rate of deforestation was 320,067 ha, which is equivalent to 0.9%. Bushland and grassland were lost at 313,745 and 969,982 ha/year, respectively. Most forest was converted to cultivation and least to other land use and cover. In conclusion, the net changes were deforestation and loss of bushland and grassland primarily due to expansion of cultivation. Further research on how to reduce or halt expansion of cultivation may shed light on improving sustainability of forest, bushland, and grassland in mainland Tanzania.