Land use/ land cover changes and stakeholders: Investigating sustainable natural resources management options for an a1 farm a case study of Essexdale farm in Marondera district, Zimbabwe
MetadataShow full item record
The tracking of the land use/land cover changes that took place in Essexdale Farm (a communal resettlement area in Marondera District of Zimbabwe) from the period 1985 to 2012 was conducted using the two methods: the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Trend Analysis and the calculation of changes in proportions of the land use/land cover classes. Four land classes: woodland, cropland, wooded grassland and wetland, were considered. The analysis of the stakeholder management framework was conducted using both the formal and informal survey methods to offer an explanation for the observed trends in the land cover changes. The NDVI Trend Analysis results revealed that there is evidence of woodland and wetland degradation as was shown by the decrease in the NDVI values of the corresponding land classes from 1985 to 2012. There was however insignificant change in the trend analysis of the cropland and wooded grassland land classes. There was a general increase in the proportion of land under woodland from 1985 to 2012. However the effects of the Fast Track Land Reform process were evidenced by an increase in the proportion of the cropland at the expense the woodland. Deforestation was identified by the stakeholders to be the main environmental problem and its contributing factors being the cutting down of trees for tobacco curing, clearing land for cultivation, selling of firewood to neighbouring towns and poverty. The clearing of land for cultivation under the post 2000 era, during the Government of Zimbabwe’s Fast-Track Resettlement Programme, emerged as the main contributing factor. It was also noticed that the conversion of the woodland to cropland and wooded grassland was more pronounced from 2000 to 2005 than was for 2006 to 2012. It was observed that there are now more than 265 families on Essexdale Farm, a figure which is almost double the carrying capacity of 136 families pegged by the land use planners in the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Marondera district. There are also illegal settlers (who are not recorded in the official farm register at the District Offices) farming on marginal land. The suggested possible solutions to the environmental challenges were tree planting, environmental education and awareness campaigns and firebreak construction, as well as strict environmental law enforcement. It was noted that the practicability and the effectiveness of these environmental management strategies would only be realised in a well managed sustainable stakeholder framework. This would demand the necessary political will to initiate institutional reforms and restructuring, with the major move being to shift the A1 land resettlement mandate from the Ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development to the more accountable Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement to deal with the problem of illegal resettlements. Capacity building of the individual farmers, local leadership and staff of all the government institutes would greatly benefit the conservation initiatives, with the major task of coordinating these efforts lying with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management.
Land Cover Changes
Natural Resources Management
Normalised Difference Vegetation Index