Geographical information system and analytical hierarchical process based land use allocation for sustainable natural resource management: The case of Uluguru mountain, Morogoro, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


The northern part of the Uluguru mountain slope, which falls within Morogoro urban jurisdiction, has been gradually populated and associated with unregulated human activities which has brought negative impacts on the environment. Natural forests are being converted at a rapid rate to farms and settlements which has a negative impact on biodiversity and the ability of the land to be fruitful. In order to have a clearer view of this problem, this study assessed the existing land use of the area for the period of thirty years (1990 to 2020). Images of the years 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2020 were obtained from the United State Geological Survey Website (USGS) and processed by classification and change detection techniques using the Geographical Information System (GIS). The combination of cellular automata and Markov ( CA- Markovic ) model was used to simulate the 2050 LULC of the study area, with images from 2000 and 2010 used to generate a transition probability matrix that aided in the estimation of possible changes, and the 2020 image classification was compared with the simulated 2020 map to validate the model's reliability. The land resources were assessed by using GIS techniques based on various reliable sources of data in raster format to achieve elevation classification, slope, soil, soil moisture index, and land surface temperature to understand the study area for planning purposes. Literature review was used to obtain compatible land uses which could facilitate management of natural resources along the mountain slopes. These proposed land uses obtained were used in a well-structured questionnaire to retrieve expert opinions on the influence of each criteria in allocating land uses at each level of elevation. The influence of criteria as defined by Saaty’s scale on questionnaires was processed by using Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) to obtain their weight through a comparison matrix, normalization of the matrix, and geometric mean calculation. The expert’s opinions were checked to see if they were consistent by using the consistency index. The geometric mean obtained via the AHP procedure was used in GIS through a weighted overlay process to produce a proposed land use plan that considers expert opinions on sustainable management of natural resources. Assessment of existing LULC revealed that agriculture activities and built-up areas are increasing over time, while forest, closed woodland, and open woodland are decreasing while the simulated LULC of 2050 shows continued depletion of natural vegetation and increased urbanization. Land use allocation of the study area by the integration of AHP and GIS came up with a proposed land use plan compatible for management of natural resources that consists of 50.26%, 19.5%, 17.12%, and 13.15% area coverage of conservation agriculture, agroforestry, settlements, and forest, respectively. From the results, it is clear that there is a significant change in LULC which negatively affects the ecology of the mountain slopes. The increase of agriculture activities and settlements from the year 1990 to 2020 is paralleled by much decreased forest, closed woodland, and open woodland. The land uses suggested via literature review to counteract the situation are agroforestry, conservation agriculture, and forest, while settlements were incorporated due to their existence. Suggested land use allocation for the area based on expert opinions collected by questionnaires reveals that the foothills of the mountain should be utilised for conservation agriculture and settlements, while the highest part of the study area, which is covered by land map units 4 and 5, should be covered more by forest and agroforestry. Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that land use allocation be used as a tool to facilitate management of natural resources in ecological sensitive areas. The analytical hierarchical process is an effective method in suitability analysis since it involves opinions from stakeholders or experts on judging factors affecting management of natural resources, and the procedure is transparent and can easily be understood, hence it is recommended to be adopted. More research on the proper type of conservation agriculture practice and plants that may be compatible for afforestation is also suggested, but also the reallocation of human activities based on compatible land use. Allowing environmentally friendly activities should be regarded as public interest due to the role of the mountain as a source of water and biodiversity. Hence, for the need of evacuation of settlements to allow environmentally friendly activities, land acquisition should follow Tanzania's land policy instruction.


Masters Dissertation


geographical information, information system, analytical hierarchical, natural resource, management