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Involving Geospatial Information in the Analysis of Land-Cover Change Along the Tanzania Coast

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This article provides the first comprehensive scientific data on land-use and land-cover change in the coastal zone of Tanzania over the 1990 and 2000 time periods. The research was part of an African region initiative to demonstrate the practical application of geographic information for sustainable development. Remotely sensed images from close to 1990 Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor and 2000 Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor and geographic information system (GIS) technologies are applied to discern changes in land cover and land use along the mainland Tanzania coast. Change detection results show that urban land area has increased dramatically. Mangrove forest area declined modestly, but field verification shows severe deterioration of their conditions near urban areas. While the area of dense woodland decreased, the area of open woodland and the area of woodland interspersed with agriculture increased. This study demonstrates how geospatial information science and technologies provide critical information and tools for coastal resource managers who work at the crossroads of resource use, land-cover change, poverty alleviation, and environmental management.

Keywords: Tanzania; coastal land-cover change; integrated coastal management; remote sensing and GIS

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA 2: Coastal Resource Center, University of Rhode Island Bay Campus, Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA 3: National Environment Management Council, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 4: Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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