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Prof Musakwa

Full Professor
Name: Walter Musakwa
Location: D2 Lab 334 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Geography Environmental Management Energy Studies Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0) 11 559 2428


About Prof Walter Musakwa


BSc University of Zimbabwe

Masters University of Kwa Zulu-Natal

PhD Stellenbosch University



He is currently a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management and Energy Studies, Faculty of Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Prof Walter Musakwa holds a PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies from Stellenbosch University. His main research focus areas are ecosystem services, environmental degradation, landscape change, climate change, sustainable development, and livelihoods. A major focus of his research is also the use of earth observation, geographic information systems and machine learning in environmental management and smart mobility. He has been a principal and co-investigator on several research projects on his focus areas. He is a former visiting research fellow of The World Academy of Sciences-German Research Foundation (TWAS-DFG), Member of The International Geographical Union (IGU) Commission on Geography for Future Earth: Coupled Human-Earth Systems for Sustainability. He is also an Editorial board member for the Geospatial Information Science Journal and Geography and Sustainability Journal.


Research Interests

Ecosystem services

Biodiversity conservation

Landscape and climate change

Sustainable development and livelihoods

Geospatial information science and machine learning

Smart mobility



Accredited Journal Papers

Chanza, N., & Musakwa, W. (2022). Revitalizing indigenous ways of maintaining food security in a changing climate: review of the evidence base from Africa. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management.

Nyathi, N. A., Musakwa, W., Delzeit, R., & Kuhn, N. J. (2022). Ecosystem Services in Southern Africa: Current and Emerging Trends; A Bibliometric Review. Diversity, 14(5), 359. Retrieved from

Chanza, N., & Musakwa, W. (2022). Indigenous local observations and experiences can give useful indicators of climate change in data-deficient regions. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. doi:10.1007/s13412-022-00757-x.

Hofer, E., Musakwa, W., van Lanen, S., Gumbo, T., Netsch, S., & Gugerell, K. (2021). Inclusivity insights: two urban development projects in Johannesburg. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 1-24.

Chanza, N., & Musakwa, W. (2021). Indigenous practices of ecosystem management in a changing climate: Prospects for ecosystem-based adaptation. Environmental Science & Policy, 126, 142-151. doi:

Chanza, N., & Musakwa, W. (2021). “Trees Are Our Relatives”: Local Perceptions on Forestry Resources and Implications for Climate Change Mitigation. Sustainability, 13(11), 5885

Moyo T, Kibangou AY, Musakwa W (2021) Societal context-dependent multi-modal transportation network augmentation in Johannesburg, South Africa. PLoS ONE 16(4): e0249014.

Li, Z., Wang, S., Song, S., Wang, Y., & Musakwa, W. (2021). Detecting land degradation in Southern Africa using Time Series Segment and Residual Trend (TSS-RESTREND). Journal of Arid Environments, 184, 104314. doi:

Musakwa, W., Gumbo, T., Paradza, G., Mpofu, E., Nyathi, N. A., & Selamolela, N. B. (2020). Partnerships and Stakeholder Participation in the Management of National Parks: Experiences of the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. Land, 9(11), 399.

Musakwa, W., Mpofu, E., & Nyathi, N. A. (2020). Local Community Perceptions on Landscape Change, Ecosystem Services, Climate Change, and Livelihoods in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. Sustainability, 12(11), 4610.

Paradza, G., Mokwena, L., & Musakwa, W. (2020). Could Mapping Initiatives Catalyze the Interpretation of Customary Land Rights in Ways that Secure Women’s Land Rights? Land, 9(10), 344.

Musakwa, W., Wang, S., Wei, F., Malapane, O. L., Thomas, M. M., Mavengahama, S., . . . Yeni-Letsoko, V. (2020). Survey of Community Livelihoods and Landscape Change along the Nzhelele and Levuvhu River Catchments in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Land, 9(3), 91.

Fundisi, E., Musakwa, W., Ahmed, F. B., & Tesfamichael, S. G. (2020). Estimation of woody plant species diversity during a dry season in a savanna environment using the spectral and textural information derived from WorldView-2 imagery. PLoS ONE, 15(6), e0234158.

Zeng Hongwei, Wu Bingfang, Wang Shuai, Musakwa W, Tian Fuyou, Mashimbye Zama Eric, Poona Nitesh, Syndey Mavengahama, 2020. A Synthesizing Land-cover Classification Method Based on Google Earth Engine: A Case Study in Nzhelele and Levuvhu Catchments, South Africa. Chinese Geographical Science, 30(3): 397-409.

Shasha, Z. T., Geng, Y., Sun, H.P., Musakwa, W., & Sun, L. (2020). Past, current, and future perspectives on eco-tourism: a bibliometric review between 2001 and 2018. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. doi:10.1007/s11356-020-08584-9.

Shao, Z., Sumari, N. S., Portnov, A., Ujoh, F., Musakwa, W., & Mandela, P. J. (2020). Urban sprawl and its impact on sustainable urban development: a combination of remote sensing and social media data. Geo-spatial Information Science, 1-15. doi:10.1080/10095020.2020.1787800]

Mkhongi, F. A., & Musakwa, W. (2020). Perspectives of GIS Education in High Schools: An Evaluation of uMgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Education Sciences, 10(5), 131.

Zeng, H., Wu, B., Zhang, N., Tian, F., Phiri, E., Musakwa, W., . . . Mashonjowa, E. (2019). Spatiotemporal Analysis of Precipitation in the Sparsely Gauged Zambezi River Basin Using Remote Sensing and Google Earth Engine. Remote Sensing, 11(24), 2977.

Sumari, N. S., Shao, Z., Van Genderen, J. L., Musakwa, W., Ujoh, F., Washaya, P., & Gumbo, T. (2019). Status of geoinformatics education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa: initiatives taken and challenges. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 43(2), 224-243.

Musakwa, W., & Wang, S. (2018). Landscape change and its drivers: A Southern African perspective. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 33, 80-86

[Impact Factor 4.2], [Published].

Mokoena, B. T., & Musakwa, W. (2018). Mobile GIS occupancy audit of Ulana informal settlement in Ekurhuleni municipality, South Africa. Geo-spatial Information Science, 21(4), 322-330.]

Musakwa, W. (2017). Identifying land suitable for agricultural land reform using GIS-MCDA in South Africa. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-19. doi:10.1007/s10668-017-99896.

Musakwa, W., R. M. Tshesane and M. Kangethe (2017). “The strategically located land index support system for human settlements land reform in South Africa.” Cities 60: 91-101.

Musakwa, W. (2017). Perspectives on geospatial information science education: an example of urban planners in Southern Africa. Geo-spatial Information Science, 20(2), 201-208.doi:10.1080/10095020.2017.1339403.

Cockburn, J., M. Rouget, R. Slotow, D. Roberts, R. Boon, E. Douwes, S. O’Donoghue, C. T. Downs, S. Mukherjee, W. Musakwa, O. Mutanga, T. Mwabvu, J. Odindi, A. Odindo, &. Proches, S. Ramdhani, J. Ray-Mukherjee, Sershen, M. Schoeman, A. J. Smit, E. Wale, and S. Willows-Munro. (2016). How to build science-action partnerships for local land-use planning and management: lessons from Durban, South Africa. Ecology and Society Vol. 21 Issue 1, p406-426.)

Musakwa, W., & Selala, K. M. (2016). Mapping cycling patterns and trends using Strava Metro data in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Data in brief, 9, 898-905.

Musakwa, W., & Van Niekerk, A. (2015). Monitoring sustainable urban development using built-up area indicators: a case study of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 17(3), 547-566.

Musakwa, W., & van Niekerk, A. (2015). Earth Observation for Sustainable Urban Planning in Developing Countries: Needs, Trends, and Future Directions. Journal of planning literature, 30(2), 149-160. doi:10.1177/0885412214557817.

Musakwa, W., & Van Niekerk, A. (2014). Monitoring urban sprawl and sustainable urban development using the Moran index: A case study of Stellenbosch, South Africa. International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, 5(3), 1-20. doi:10.4018/ijagr.2014070101.

Musakwa, W., & Van Niekerk, A. (2013). Implications of land use change for the sustainability of urban areas: A case study of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Cities, 32, 143-156.


Current PhD Students

Mkhongi FA: Deagrarianisation dynamics: A case of two rural districts of South Africa.

Malapane OL: Indigenous knowledge systems, ecosystem services and human wellbeing linkages within the Vhembe District, Limpopo Province.

Selamolela NB: Linking human health and economics with provisioning ecosystem services in rural landscapes.

Sithole S: Spatio-temporal land use changes and implications for planning in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Mufungizi AA: The nexus of shifting ecosystems in the face of climate change in Vhembe district, Limpopo province.

Shabangu M: Evaluating the novel land information systems in redressing spatial injustice in South Africa. The case of plastic view informal settlement in Pretoria east. South Africa.

Mundoga K: Wildlife Governance under CITES: A Study of Elephant Conservation Policy and Community Participation in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

Cele N: Artificial intelligence to assess the quality of public transport services in Johannesburg and Durban.

Kalaoane RC: Planning for quality of service in public transportation: case analysis of Braamfontein: Johannesburg.

Matwara P: Towards Integrating Climate Change in Urban Planning in Chipinge, Zimbabwe.