Sustainable land use systems planning and management requires a wider understanding of the spatial extent and detailed human-ecosystem interactions astride any landscape. This study assessed the extent of historical, current, and future land use systems in Uganda. The specific objectives were to (i) characterize and assess the extent of historical and current land use systems, and (ii) project future land use systems. The land use systems were defined and classified using spatially explicit land use/cover layers for the years 1990 and 2015, while the future prediction (for the year 2040) was determined using land use systems datasets for both years through a Markov chain model. This study reveals a total of 29 classes of land use systems that can be broadly categorized as follows: three of the land use systems are agricultural, five are under bushland, four under forest, five under grasslands, two under impediments, three under wetlands, five under woodland, one under open water and urban settlement respectively. The highest gains in the land amongst the land use systems were experienced in subsistence agricultural land and grasslands protected, while the highest losses were seen in grasslands unprotected and woodland/forest with low livestock densities. By 2040, subsistence agricultural land is likely to increase by about 1% while tropical high forest with livestock activities is expected to decrease by 0.2%, and woodland/forest unprotected by 0.07%. High demand for agricultural and settlement land are mainly responsible for land use systems patchiness. This study envisages more land degradation and disasters such as landslides, floods, droughts, and so forth to occur in the country, causing more deaths and loss of property, if the rate at which land use systems are expanding is not closely monitored and regulated in the near future.
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