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Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development

Potential corollaries of land degradation on rural livelihoods in upper Songwe transboundary river catchment, Tanzania

Brown Gwambene

Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences and Entrepreneurship, Marian University College, P.O. Box 47, Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Email: gwambene@gmail.com

Accepted 14 October, 2016.

Citation: Gwambene B (2017). Potential corollaries of land degradation on rural livelihoods in upper Songwe transboundary river catchment, Tanzania. Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, 3(1): 139-148.

Copyright: © 2017 Gwambene B. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.


Land degradation has been a part of Livelihoods in most of rural household of the developing countries. Its critical constraints have been observed in agricultural production and in living standards in most of rural livelihoods that leaves these households vulnerable to severe hardship. This paper aimed to understand the community’s responses on the impacts of land degradation and anticipated management strategies in the Upper Songwe basin. It used a survey method in which, household survey, key informant interviews, institutional interviews and field observation were used in data collection. The results revealed the decline in physical and social capital and limited opportunities in farming communities due to land degradation. Soil erosion and landslides reduced area for cultivation, changed the water colour and increased the silts and reduced fish catch in the river and Lake Nyasa. Expansion of cultivations, engaging in the processing of natural resources products have been ways of surviving in the area. Farmers also frequently migrate on a temporary basis to locations that have favorable farming conditions. To improve livelihood and sustain natural resource there is a need to institutionalize adaptation strategies that provide an environment for rural community to understand land resource management and adaptation strategies.


Key words: Land degradation, Rural livelihood, environmental management, climate variability and upper Songwe