Dynamics of land change: insights from a three-level intensity analysis of the Legedadie-Dire catchments, Ethiopia. uri icon

abstract

  • Earlier studies on land change (LC) have focused on size and magnitude, gains and losses, or land transfers between categories. Therefore, these studies have failed to simultaneously show the complete LC processes. This paper examines LCs in the LegedadieDire catchments in Oromia State, Ethiopia, using land category maps with intensity analysis (IA) at three points in time. We comprehensively analyze LC to jointly encompass the rate, intensity, transition, and process. Thirty-meter US Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat imagery from 1986, 2000, and 2015 (< 10% cloud) is processed using TerrSet-LCM and ArcGIS. Six categories are identified using a maximum likelihood classification technique: settlement, cultivation, forest, water, grassland, and bare land. Then, classified maps are superimposed on the images to statistically examine changes with an IA. Considerable changes are observed among categories, except for water, between 1986-2000 and 2000-2015. Overall land change occurred quickly at first and then slowly in the second time interval. The total land area that exhibited change (1st approximate to 54% and 2nd approximate to 51%) exceeded the total area of persistence (1st approximate to 46% and 2nd approximate to 49%) across the landscape. Cultivation and human settlements were the most intensively increased categories, at the expense of grassland and bare ground. Hence, when grassland was lost, it tended to he displaced by cultivation more than other categories, which was also true with bare land. Annual intensity gains were active for forest but minimal for cultivation, implying that the gains of forest were associated with in situ reforestation practices and that the gains in cultivation were caused by its relatively large initial area under a uniform intensity concept. This study demonstrates that IA is valuable for investigating LC across time intervals and can help distinguish dormant vs. active and targeted vs. avoided land categories.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018