Population pressure and land use changes in the Eastern slope of Mount Meru.

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examines land use changes in Olgilai and Kiserian villages in Arumeru District. The study focuses on a set of intermediate variables through which demographic changes, socio- economic and policies can alter the natural environment. Land use change in the study area was determined from interpretation of the 1963, 1982 aerial photos and satellite imagery of 1995, while its effect on land use patterns and coping strategies were determined in a field survey through interviews, field observation and secondary data. The findings show that the study area exhibited high population growth rate of about 3.8% per annum and mean household size is 6 people, with an average size of male children of 3 and 4. This has resulted into serious, land fragmentation, land scarcity, landlessness, land conflicts, loss of land fertility, absence of fallow periods, decline of agricultural production and land degradation, which have negative impact on resource use patterns. The results also show that the increase in population was significant in the study area and has led to expansion of settlement areas at the expense of bushland, grassland and cultivated land. This means that settlements increased at a rate of 0.4km2 per annum. The land use/cover change and change in resource use patterns in the study area have been caused by socio- economic factors, past and present policies and demographic change. Farmers devised several means to cope with effects of land use change, but poverty has limited the rate at which most of these coping strategies could be adopted. The study recommends that land use policy for sustainable land utilization and management of natural resources from local level should be formulated.
Land use, Population societies, Mount Meru, Olgilai village, Kiserian village, Arumeru district
Kweka, A. (2004). Population pressure and land use changes in the Eastern slope of Mount Meru. Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (