Land Use/cover Change And Landscape Fragmentation Analysis In The Bindura District, Zimbabwe
Published 2007 · Geology
Rapid land use/cover change and landscape fragmentation is occurring in many countries in central and southern Africa, as a result of colonial imbalances in land distribution, demographic pressure, agricultural expansion, government policies and environmental factors such as drought. This study analysed the dynamics of land use/cover and land degradation as revealed in landscape fragmentation in the Bindura District of Zimbabwe based on Landsat data for 1973 and 2000. A hybrid supervised/unsupervised classification approach coupled with GIS analyses was employed to generate land use/cover maps from which various class level landscape metrics were calculated using FRAGSTATS®, in order to analyse landscape fragmentation. The results show that agriculture, mixed rangeland, settlements, bareland and water increased, while woodland areas decreased. Consequently, the landscape became more highly fragmented as indicated by an increase in the patch number and a decrease in the mean patch size (MPS) of the woodland and mixed rangeland classes. This suggests that anthropogenic activities driven by agricultural expansion were the main causes of landscape fragmentation, leading to landscape degradation in the study area. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.