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Land cover change analysis in the Aberdare forest ecosystem and practical lessons for nature conservation in Kenya

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, UK

Res. J. Agriculture & Forestry Sci., Volume 8, Issue (1), Pages 1-9, January,8 (2020)

Abstract

With significant increase in human activities and ongoing conflicts over land use in the Mau forest complex, this study sought to access the trend in vegetation cover change in the Aberdares between 2008 and 2018 for an up-to-date spatial data. Through remote sensing techniques, this research was broadly aiming at characterizing the dynamics of vegetation cover between this period. Specifically, the study aimed at: identifying the major vegetation cover types in the Abardares; along with determining the rate of vegetation cover change between the study periods. Land cover types were discriminated through supervised and unsupervised classification and spatial reclassification of multi-temporal Landsat imagery. The land cover classes were verified and validated using reported result by CIRAD Consultancy Team for rehabilitation of the Aberdare Forest Ecosystem in 2009. One-way ANOVA showed that the rate of change in vegetation cover between the years was statistically significant (p< 0.05). Between 2008 and 2013, the study reported a decrease in forest land by -2.2% while non-forest land increased by 10.7%. However, during the phase 2013-2018, there was an increase in forest land by 3.6% while non-forest land reduced by -5.6%. This has the implication that conservation efforts by the government are bearing results.

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