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Livelihoods, land use and land cover change in the Zambezi Region, Namibia

Author:
Kamwi, Jonathan M.   Chirwa, Paxie W. C.   Manda, Samuel O. M.   Graz, Patric F.   Kätsch, Christoph   


Journal:
Population and Environment


Issue Date:
2015


Abstract(summary):

This paper examines the socio-economic drivers of land use and land cover change and assesses the impacts of such changes to rural livelihoods in the Zambezi region of northern Namibia. We carried out a longitudinal analysis of Landsat imagery of land use and land cover. The analysis revealed that the amount of land in the region covered by forest increased significantly in the period from 1991 to 2010 whilst crop/grass land decreased. Focus group meetings, key informant interviews and semi-structured interviews covering 424 households stratified by gender were used. The results show that natural resource uses are vitally important in the rural livelihoods. The drivers of land use and land cover change are agricultural expansion, population increase and illegal logging. Livelihood coping strategies include piecework, food aid, borrowing from relatives and wild food collection. By gender stratification, piecework contributed 37 and 63 % while agriculture contributed 29 and 71 % of the income of male- and female-headed households. Logistic regression analysis showed knowledge of regulations, age group and species availability significantly (p < 0.05) influenced the choice of a household's livelihood coping strategy. The study concludes that the changes in coping strategies influenced by a variety of factors have led to the diminished use of natural resources. For policy purposes, this suggests that state interventions can play a significant role in promoting more sustainable natural resource usage. This analysis enables effective decision-making to reconcile the efforts of sustainable development and natural resource management.


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