The Impact of Housing Development on Biodiversity – A Case of Rusike Phase Three, Marondera, Zimbabwe
Land-use is directly related to many environmental issues of global importance. Human alteration of the environment has triggered the major extinction events in the history of life and caused widespread changes in the global distribution of organisms. Therefore, land-use change can cause dynamics of biodiversity. The rate of global biodiversity loss has accelerated rapidly in the past century as the population has increased coupled with increased rate of human activities. Declines in biodiversity negatively affect local ecosystem functions and services and are thereby a major threat to humanity. Sixty questionnaires were used to gather information concerning the changes in biodiversity as a result of the Rusike Phase 3 housing development. Satellite images were also used to track the changes in vegetation cover in the area of study. There were more females than males amongst the respondents and the age of respondents ranged from 25 to 80 years with 83% of respondents having completed secondary level of education. It was noted that there was a change in flora and fauna of Rusike Phase 3 before and after the housing scheme from the responses on the questionnaires and from the normalized difference vegetation index satellite images. Lack of sustainable alternative energy sources has caused a surge in the cutting down of trees for firewood by the newly resettled residents. Clearing the land for housing and for small garden agricultural cultivation has also contributed to the loss in biodiversity in Rusike Phase 3 and the loss of habitats. It was concluded that land use activities like housing developments negatively affect biodiversity and require well planned and coordinated sources of energy for cooking to prevent deforestation of trees used for firewood.
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