Spatial pattern of forest degradation in dry Miombo woodland in Southern

Start date: 31 January, 2011 End date: 30 April, 2011 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A10794 Countries: Tanzania Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Sushma Bhattarai Total grant: 10,000 DKK


Miombo woodlands support high diversity and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa. Although these woodlands contain less carbon than humid forest, these are important for having large coverage and thus potentially important for national REDD+ carbon accounting. These woodlands are highly susceptible to forest degradation due to anthropogenic activities. Degradation activities are difficult to assess through remote sensing techniques alone. Alternatively, they can be
estimated by the use of proxy variables such as infrastructure and settlements. This study is focused on the assessment of spatial pattern of forest degradation in Miombo woodland in Southern Tanzania. Diameter of stumps was collected through inventory of circular plots of 15m radius in 25 transects at 500m, 2500m and 3500m distance from forest border. Information was supplemented by interviews with groups and key informants. The spatial relationship between forest degradation and the explanatory variables; distance to major roads, settlements and forest edge was assessed with logistic and mixed linear regression analysis. The majority of the plots showed forest degradation with fuelwood collection, poles extraction and charcoal production as major degrading activities. Tree cutting in terms of number per hectare showed significant inverse functions with
distance to settlement and forest edge. Basal area and percentage basal area removed was significant only with distance to settlements. Thus, distance to settlement is found to be the best predictor for degradation in the study area. Tree cutting for charcoal showed significant relationship with distance to road whereas, tree cutting for pole and fuelwood were significant with the distance to settlements.