Human modification of the land surface through the conversion of natural land into other land use types like agriculture and settlement has affected regional and global climate processes by changing the fluxes of mass and energy between an ecosystem and the atmosphere. This study was out to evaluate the effects of plantation agriculture on land use, land cover change in the Nguti sub division and to investigate resident’s perception about the effects of land use, land cover change on local climatic variability. Satellite maps from Landsat multispectral images were processed using Arc GIS 8 to assess land cover change overtime. Structured Questionnaires, focused group discussions and interviews were used to gather relevant data on resident’s perception on the impacts of land use, land cover changes on climate variability. The statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 19 was used to analyze respondent’s perception on the impacts of land use land cover change on local climatic variability. Results indicate a slow change in dense forest of -2% between 2006 and 2012 when no large scale agricultural practice existed, as opposed to a rapid change of -14% between 2012 and 2015 when such practice existed, indicating a massive loss of forest cover. Plantations increase slightly between 2006 and 2012 (51ha) but witnessed a massive increase (210ha) between 2012 and 2015. The effects of plantation expansion on forest depletion cannot be overemphasized because other land uses like settlements and farmlands experience an increase during the same periods. Residents of Nguti sub division attest that there has been variability in the climatic condition in the area experience in the form of increase temperature, reduction in rainfall and changes in seasonality. Authors recommended a need for a participatory land use planning to delimit and allocate land into various land uses and to avoid future land use conflicts.
Keywords: Dense forest, palm plantation, settlements, respondents, variability, livelihood change