Kagoma Forest Reserve (KFR) is found in Kagera Region, Tanzania and is comprised of a large area of Miombo woodland. The extent of land use and vegetation cover changes in and around Kagoma Forest Reserve was investigated. Remote sensing and GIS techniques were used to analyze land use and vegetation cover changes over the past 23 years which revealed the occurrence of significant land use and vegetation cover transformation from one land use class to another. During the first period of 12 years under observations (1988-1999), woodlands increased by 5.8%, cultivated lands increased by 5.9%, settlements increased by 0.52% and forests decreased by 5.64%. During the next 11 years period under observations (1999-2010), woodlands decreased by 22.97%, cultivated lands increased by 6.07%, settlements increased by 9.14% when year 1999 was used as a common baseline data year for both periods and forests which decreased by 2.5%. There was a slight increase in settlements from 1998 to 1999 but there was a rapid increase thereafter. It was estimated that vegetation cover was decreasing at the rate of 45.08 ha (0.27%) per year. The study concludes that, there have been significant changes in land use pattern and forest cover in and around KFR in Tanzania which require concerted actions to reverse the changes. The establishment and enforcement of different laws and regulations relating to natural resources and land use planning could improve land tenure and resource use in villages bordering the forest.
Key words: Land use, vegetation, cover change, Kagoma, Tanzania.
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