Anthropogenic activities have substantially changed natural landscapes, especially in regions which are extremely affected by population growth and climate change such as East African countries. Understanding the patterns of land-use and land-cover (LULC) change is important for efficient environmental management, including effective water management practice. Using remote sensing techniques and geographic information systems (GIS), this study focused on changes in LULC patterns of the upstream and downstream Wami River Basin over 16 years. Multitemporal satellite imagery of the Landsat series was used to map LULC changes and was divided into three stages (2000–2006, 2006–2011, and 2011–2016). The results for the change-detection analysis and the change matrix table from 2000 to 2016 show the extent of LULC changes occurring in different LULC classes, while most of the grassland, bushland, and woodland were intensively changed to cultivated land both upstream and downstream. These changes indicate that the increase of cultivated land was the result of population growth, especially downstream, while the primary socioeconomic activity remains agriculture both upstream and downstream. In general, net gain and net loss were observed downstream, which indicate that it was more affected compared to upstream. Hence, proper management of the basin, including land use planning, is required to avoid resources-use conflict between upstream and downstream users.
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