The objective of this research paper was to assess the spatial and temporal Land Use/Land Cover Changes (LU/LCC) in Arsi Negele District. Rapid population growth, agricultural expansion, environmental fluctuations, degradation of natural resource and loss of biodiversity are the most visible socio-economic and environmental problem in the study area. Satellite imagery, ground control point data and household level socioeconomic survey were used to produce land cover maps and explaining the historical trends of the study area. ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS software was used to accomplish the analysis. The analysis result showed that in 1973 most of the study area had been covered by dense acacia woodland and shrub land. Between 1973 to 1986, cultivated grass and bare land increased by 8.98, 33.9, and 36.5 ha respectively. While, shrub and acacia woodland decreased by 6.17 and 73.21 ha, respectively. Between 1986 and 2010, cultivated acacia woodland and land increased by 15.38, 4.63, and 38.52 ha. However, bare and grass land decreased by 19.23 and 39.3 ha, respectively. Furthermore, the trend and magnitude of LU/LCC between 1973 to 2010 acacia woodland and land decreased by 22.72 and 13.58 ha, but shrub land and cultivated land increased by 22.82 and 13.14 ha. Socio-economic survey result revealed that acacia woodland and shrub land decreased, but cultivated land land and grass land increased in the derg regime. However, currently, natural resource conservation activity has got a great emphasis, thus spatial coverage of acacia woodland has increased. Expansion of agricultural land, population growth and the associated demand for land were the major driving forces for the observed LU/LCC changes in the study area. Therefore, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, and environmental deterioration are largely the results of LU/LCC. Hence, land resources management practices, utilization of alternative energy sources and family planning education are some of the appropriate interventions to reduce this dramatic change.
Key words: Remote sensing, GIS, land use/land cover changes (LU/LCC), accuracy, landsat, imagery.
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