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Using Land Cover Change to Predict Forest Degradation Pressure Points, Eastern Mau Forest, Kenya

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Land cover change in any ecosystem vary in space and time. The study analyzed spatial-temporal land cover change to predict forest degradation pressure points in Eastern Mau Forest Reserve. The study objectives were to determine types and amount of spatial-temporal land cover change; land cover change drivers and; forest resources use sustainability. The study used mixed sample survey design involving purposive sampling of spatial data and cluster sampling of forest resource use data. Primary data included ground control points, field validation data and forest resource use data. Secondary data included Landsat imagery, forest and administration boundaries and settlements data. Analysis was done for 1986-2014 period using Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System. The analysis techniques used included object based image segmentation and classification, accuracy assessment and land cover change detection. Land cover types in Eastern Mau Forest consisted of indigenous forest, shrubland, grassland, plantation forest, cultivated fields, bare ground and built-up area. The analysis results depicted that cultivated fields coverage increased from 1% to 47%. Indigenous and plantation forests decreased from 43% to 36% and 34% to 7% respectively. Grassland and shrubland decreased from 16% to 8% and 6% to 2% respectively. Bare ground and built up area had a change of less than 1% each. Causes of pressure that lead to forest degradation included crop cultivation, settlement construction, livestock grazing, charcoal burning, firewood collection, logging, bee keeping and medicinal herbs extraction. Land cover change was more on the eastern side than on the western side. Indigenous and plantation forests were likely to disappear if cropland and built up area expansions were to remain unchecked. The study recommendations were: resettlement activities be eliminated in the Eastern Mau Forest; excision of forest land for crop cultivation should be discouraged; and scientific research should be carried out on sustainable plantation forest activities.


International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 71)
A. O. Ndubi, "Using Land Cover Change to Predict Forest Degradation Pressure Points, Eastern Mau Forest, Kenya", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 71, pp. 17-33, 2018
Online since:
September 2018

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