Land use Change Assessment as An Effort To Mitigate Climate Change in Belawan Watershed Using Integrated Approach
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Changes in the land cover are one of important issues in North Sumatra, especially in Belawan Watershed. Belawan Watershed was located across Deli Serdang District and Medan City. In order to mitigate climate change, this study aimed to evaluate the changes of land cover during eleven years period (2000 to 2011) and to determine the main factor causing the change of land cover in Belawan Watershed. The Geographic Information System (GIS) with overlay technique was used to analyze land cover changes and the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) with questionnaires and interviews were used to determine the cause of changes and the factors driving the changes in land cover (integrated approach). Field observations were also made to the biophysical conditions due to changes in land cover. The results showed that during eleven years, extensive changes in land cover were the greatest in dry land farming mixed shrubs that became dry land agriculture. Economic factors were the main cause of changes, followed by social factors and ecological factors. Economic criteria selected by respondents as the most important priority for activities in Belawan Watershed could not be separated from economic activities that were aligned with spatial development. This certainly influenced the basis of economic or financial considerations to convert agricultural land into non-agricultural use either for residential, offices, and other facilities. In order to mitigate climate change in Belawan Watershed, it is expected that the role of all stakeholders, especially local governments should be improved so that changes in land cover can be minimized.