Land Cover Change Impacts on Beef Cattle Productivity under Changing Climate: Case of Ilemela and Magu Districts, Tanzania

DOI: 10.1080/00128325.2017.1405470
Author(s): Siwa Ernest NkyaDirectorate of Forest Production Research, Tanzania, Martin HagaiDepartment of Geoinformatics, Tanzania, Japhet Joel KashaigiliDepartment of Forest Resources Assessment and Management, Tanzania


The study focused on contributing to the spatial knowledge of the impacts of land cover changes on beef cattle production under a changing climate in rangelands of the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB), so as to establish a strategy for improving beef cattle production in the area. We used supervised classification of satellite imagery to analyze land cover changes between the years 1980–2000 and 2000–2010. Results revealed that for the periods 1980–2000 and 2000–2010, settlements increased by 1% and 8%, and cultivated area increased by 0.58% and 0.30%, respectively. Riverine vegetation declined by 0.26% and increased by 0.16%, and woodlands declined by 6% and 13% respectively. The trend of beef cattle numbers against rainfall and pasture area (riverine vegetation and woodland) over the study period 1980–2010 showed a non-significant trend of increasing rainfall in the study area. In Ilemela District, pasture area and beef cattle numbers declined by 33% and 4% respectively. In Magu District, beef cattle numbers increased by 64% and pasture area declined by 84%. This implies that the effect of urbanization is more severe in Ilemela than in Magu District. Land use planning, enhancing of mixed crop-livestock farming systems, intensification of livestock practices, forage conservation, planting of fodder trees, and matching of cattle numbers with pasture availability are recommended. In addition, education is needed on effective cattle farming as a strategy for improving beef cattle production in the face of land cover changes due to climate variability in the area.

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