Tutorials / Guided use cases

Changes in land cover in the Miombo-Mopane landscape in Tanzania 


The Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands cover 93% of Tanzania’s forested land. Miombo woodlands are a global biodiversity hotspot with irreplaceable endemism. The mosaic of Mopane/Miombo woodlands fulfil various ecosystem services supporting the resilience of surrounding farmland and communities, especially under climate change.

This unique ecosystem is increasingly being degraded by shifting cultivation with inadequate rotational fallow periods, overgrazing, charcoal production and uncontrolled fires. Irregular rainfalls are further increasing the negative effects of these practices. Land productivity is therefore decreasing while the population is rapidly increasing.

This story shows how Earth Map can support project designers to define an area of intervention in the context of a development programme such as the Drylands Impact Programme of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). In this case, a watershed approach was used. First of all a Sub-basin (Mlele) was identified and existing remote sensing products embedded in Earth Map were used to describe their main features and characteristics.


Tanzania, East Africa 


Land Use Change, Land Degradation, Fires 


The vegetation, fire and land use change data we assessed show how drivers of land degradation such as shifting cultivation or uncontrolled fires are affecting the area .The maps and statistics can help to identify an area that is in need of sustainable dryland management practices that could help to avert a deterioration of the observed situation.

Figure 1: Screenshot of the area of intervention: Sub-basin (Mlele).

Table 1: Land cover change between 1995 and 2018 in Mlele sub-basin (based on European Space Agency (ESA) Land Cover CCI data).  

Figure 3: Fire frequency map  between 2001-2021) (based on MCD64A1 v006). Most fires occur in areas of forest land (darker shades represent higher annual frequency of fires). Population centres (where most continuous vegetation has been removed) are areas with the lowest occurrence of fires.

Figure 4: Graphics showing statistics on burned areas at the yearly and the monthly basis (based on MCD64A1 v006 and CHIRPS). The monthly average of burned area and precipitation is calculated for the last 19 years (between 2001 and 2019).

Figure 2: Vegetation intensity with zoom-in to the sub-basin, images in 2000 and 2018 (based on Landsat - Greenest Pixel Yearly 1984-2018)