Detecting forest degradation in Marakwet district, Kenya, using remote sensing and GIS – in cooperation with SCC-Vi Agroforestry
Deforestation is a widespread problem and has many negative impacts. The biggest threat to forest is human activities. Despite increasing efforts regarding forest management and forest conservation, the deforestation continues at a high rate to give space for other land uses such as agriculture and pasture. The world’s population continues to grow and Africa is the continent with fastest growing population. During the last 100 years this has led to major changes in the African landscape, and Kenya is no exception.
This MFS (Minor Field Study) was conducted in cooperation with the nongovernmental organization SCC-Vi Agroforestry. The study area is located in Marakwet district in western Kenya and the district has one of the largest remaining natural forests in the country. At the same time, the area is experiencing ongoing illegal deforestation.
The aim of the study was to investigate and map the deforestation in the study area during the 23 years period from 1986 to 2009 by using satellite data. Furthermore, the aim was to create a future scenario. Data of the population in the district was then compared with the results to find a correlation.
The result indicates great changes in forest cover. During the 23 years period, 4 149 hectares of forest have been cleared in the study area, representing a decrease of 14 percent. The deforestation rate has decreased but the problem remains. If nothing is done to prevent the ongoing deforestation, 45 percent of the forest in the study area will disappear until the year 2100.
Gunlycke, N. & Tuomaala, A. (2011). Detecting forest degradation in Marakwet district, Kenya, using remote sensing and GIS – in cooperation with SCC-Vi Agroforestry. Master’s Thesis. Geobiosphere Science Centre. Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis. Lund University.
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