Assessing the effects of refugee settlement on land use/cover changes in Lamwo district, Northern Uganda
Aciro, Michel Gladys
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This study aimed at examining the impact of settling South Sudanese refugees in Palabek Ogili Sub County in Lamwo district, Northern Uganda. With the arrival of refugees from Sudan especially with the increasing political instability in South Sudan, there has been an increasing influx of refugees from Sudan into Northern Uganda regions. The arrival of large number of refugees in to the area, particularly in Palabek Ogili Sub County brought demographic, political, social, economic and environmental impact in the area affecting land use and land cover. This study aims to understand and explain the effects of settling these refugees on land use/land cover changes in Palabek Ogili Sub County. The study examines the natural state of land cover and land use before and after the arrival of refugees and the opening of the refugee camp. The study examined the drivers that led to the settling of refugees in the area and also explains the dependency of refugees and the host community on woodland resources. In the study process questionnaire, Geographical Information System and remote sensing techniques were used to get a clear understanding of the effects of settling refugees on LULC in the area. Analysis of the years 2000, 2010 and 2018, showed that, areas covered by Bare land in 2000 was representing 18.48%, built-up was 3.22%, Farmland was 8.69%, forests were 23.54% and grassland was 46.06% which was the largest, this gradually reduced to 43.32% in 2010 and to 4.99 in 2018.Forest experienced a slight increase of up to 28.14% in 2010 from 23.54% in 2000. This can be attributed to the LRA war that displaced people into IDP camps in Northern Uganda, deforestation was minimal because people feared for their lives. It eventually decreased to 12.91% in 2018 mainly because by this time people were free to move about and use forest resources as they wish without fear for their lives and due to population increase in the area brought about by the influx of refugees. Crop farming increased over the years from 8.69% in 2000, to 15.43% in 2010 to 35.31% in 2018 which was the largest. This is mainly attributed to increase in population in the sub county. Built-up areas have also increased over the years from 3.22% of the total land coverage in 2000 to 4.99% of the total land coverage in 2010 to 29.69% of the total land coverage in 2018. The table below illustrates the trend in land use /cover change from 2000 to 2018.