Understanding the trajectories and extents of land use/land cover change (LULCC) is important to generate and provide helpful information to policymakers and development practitioners about the magnitude and trends of LULCC. This study presents the contributing factors of LULCC, the extent and implications of these changes for sustainable land use in the Finchaa catchment. Data from Landsat images 1987, 2002, and 2017 were used to develop the land use maps and quantify the changes. A supervised classification with the maximum likelihood classifier was used to classify the images. Key informant interviews and focused group discussions with transect walks were used for the socio-economic survey. Over the past three decades, agricultural land, commercial farm, built-up, and water bodies have increased while forestland, rangeland, grazing land, and swampy areas have decreased. Intensive agriculture without proper management practice has been a common problem of the catchment. Increased cultivation of steep slopes has increased the risk of erosion and sedimentation of nearby water bodies. Multiple factors, such as biophysical, socio-economic, institutional, technological, and demographic, contributed to the observed LULCC in the study area. A decline in agricultural yield, loss of biodiversity, extended aridity and drought, land and soil degradation, and decline of water resources are the major consequences of LULCC in the Finchaa catchment. The socio-economic developments and population growth have amplified the prolonged discrepancy between supply and demand for land and water in the catchment. More comprehensive and integrated watershed management policies will be indispensable to manage the risks.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited