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Assessing the Spatial Drivers of Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Protected and Communal Areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia

Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Private Bag 13388, Windhoek 9000, Namibia
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Earth Observation Group, Natural Resources and Environment, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Department of Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
Faculty Resource Management, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen, Hohnsen 4, 31134 Hildesheim, Germany
South African Medical Research Council, Biostatistics Unit, Private Bag X385, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 3209, South Africa
Centre for Environmental Management, School of Health and Life Sciences, Federation University Australia, University Drive, Mount Helen VIC 3350, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2018, 7(4), 131;
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
Understanding the patterns and drivers of land use and land cover (LULC) changes is fundamental for rational and specific planning for sustainable land management. Using remote sensing techniques, geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical modeling via multinomial logistic regression, we sought to identify spatial variables that determine LULC change and their extent over time in the protected and communal areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia. Multi-temporal satellite imagery of the Landsat series was used to map changes over a period of twenty-six years, divided into three stages (1984–1991, 1991–2000 and 2000–2010). Post classification change detection methodologies were used to determine conversions between LULC classes. Additionally, socio-economic characteristics of the area were used to identify drivers of changes. Four spatial drivers of LULC change that we identified included the distance to the nearest road, distance to settlements, population density and fire return periods. Population density, distance to settlements and fire return period were significantly associated with conversion from crop/grass land to crop/grass land and forest land to crop/grass, forest land to bare land and forest land to forest land in the protected area. In communal areas, distance to the road was found to significantly influence conversion from crop/grass land to crop/grass land. The study concluded that the influence of these drivers is attributable to distinct political and agro-demographical differences during the study period. Policy makers and planners need to take these drivers into consideration together with their subsidiaries to respond and make sound decisions regarding undesirable changes in LULC. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use; land cover; spatial drivers; logistic regression; Zambezi land use; land cover; spatial drivers; logistic regression; Zambezi
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Kamwi, J.M.; Cho, M.A.; Kaetsch, C.; Manda, S.O.; Graz, F.P.; Chirwa, P.W. Assessing the Spatial Drivers of Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Protected and Communal Areas of the Zambezi Region, Namibia. Land 2018, 7, 131.

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