The effects of land use cover change on rangeland ecosystems in kakooge sub-county Nakasongola district, uganda.
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Land use and land cover change is driven by human actions and also drives changes that limit availability of products and services for human and livestock, and it can undermine environmental health as well. Therefore, this study was aimed at understanding land use and land cover change in region, Nakasongola District. Two time-series satellite images that included Landsat TM, and ETM+ which covered the time frame between 1987 to 2005, were used. Socio-economic Survey and review of documents was carried out to understand historical trends, collect ground truth and other secondary information required. Analysis of data and other data was accomplished through integrated use of ILWIS 3.3 version and GIS software packages along with Microsoft office analytical tools. Remote sensing analysis revealed landscape level change of cultivated land to have a net increase while a decline is found for Woodlands. However, socio-economic surveys showed that household level cultivated land has decreased from 2.2ha to 1.8ha over the last 18 years. Major contributing factors included population increase, occurrence of drought, land redistribution, and land degradation. Similarly, average land holding per household has decreased from 1.6ha to 1.5ha. This has jeopardized the capacity of individuals to provide land for their siblings further leading to landlessness, which is becoming a common phenomenon among rural youths. In Kakooge, dense woodlands decreased at an annual rate of 3.4. %, while open grass land increased at a rate of 0.68%; as opposed to this, dense shrub/bush land decreased at a rate of 0.11% and wetlands declined at annual rate of 0.83%; Built up showed a net increase at a rate of 45.7% due to population increase. Along with the observed decrease in vegetation cover, Limited availability and extinction of some tree/shrub species is also reported and research is required to quantify changes and understand the real impacts brought about. Key words: Land Use and land Cover Change, Land degradation, satellite imagery, implication for management of rangelands