n Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Applied Sciences - An assessment of land use and land cover in and around Kakamega forest in Kenya using GIS and remote sensing

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2141-7016
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Kakamega is an important forest in Kenya and in the East African region being the only Gueneo-Congolean tropical rainforest in Kenya. It is also one of the major tourist attractions in Kenya. Kakamega forest is threatened by uncontrolled degradation and conversions to other forms of land use due to high population density in adjoining areas. The uncontrolled exploitation of this resource may in the long run cause damage to the physical environment and to human livelihoods. It is against this backdrop that the study was conducted in Kakamega forest and its environs to determine the changes in land use in the areas around the forest and their implications for its conservation. The land use activities in and around Kakamega forest were identified and mapped. The land use and land cover changes were determined from three sets of aerial photographs acquired over a 28-year period using remote sensing techniques. The aerial potographs were of 1963, 1974, and 1991 at a scale of 1:25000. All the spatial data were analysed using geographical information systems software for comparison of land cover/land use over time. Three land use and cover maps 1963, 1974 and 1991 meant to compare temporal trends were produced. Land use/cover change maps were also produced to document the changes of particular land uses over time. The results obtained show that the indigenous forest has been converted to other land uses over time, resulting in substantial change in the size of the indigenous forest. They also show that communities living around the forest are highly dependent on in several ways. To enhance the conservation of the forest, the study recommends that continuous monitoring should be done in order to establish the present trend in ecological and other changes taking place to provide necessary data for planners and decision makers.

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