Land Cover Change as a Proxy of Changes in Wildlife Distribution and Abundance in Tarangire-Simanjiro-Lolkisale-Mto wa Mbu Ecosystem

Thobias Anthony, Nyimvua Shaban, Cuthbert Nahonyo


This study analyzed the land use and land cover (LULC) changes from 2000 to 2020 and examined its influence on wildlife distribution and abundance. LULC from satellite imagery for 2000, 2012 and 2020 were acquired from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Supervised classification along with a maximum likelihood algorithm was used to classify satellite imagery into eight LULC classes: bareland, woodland, wetland, shrubland, grassland, waterbodies, cropland and built-up land. The results showed that grassland, wetland and woodland had declined, while shrubland, cropland and built-up land increased from 2000 to 2020. Grassland, wetland and woodland decreased from 48.1%, 14.1% and 4.4% in 2000 to 19.5%, 10.3% and 2.5% in 2020, respectively. Shrubland, cropland and built-up land expanded from 14.8%, 1.9% and 0.0% in 2000 to 39.0%, 17.2% and 1.9% in 2020, respectively. The findings suggest that the decline in grassland, wetland and woodland had affected terrestrial vertebrate species and their habitats through wildlife habitat destruction and land degradation leading to the changes in the wild animals’ abundance and distribution. The research highlights the need for continuous monitoring and reporting of land use and land cover changes and its effects on wildlife distribution and abundance.

Keywords:    Biodiversity change, Land use and land cover change, Wildlife habitat, Tarangire-Simanjiro

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