Land cover dynamics in the Chyulu watershed ecosystem, Makueni-Kajiado counties, Kenya
Kiringe, John W
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The aim of the study was to assess the state of land cover dynamics in the Chyulu Hills watershed ecosystem of Makueni and Kajiado Counties in Kenya by considering the following objectives:- a) assessing the state of land cover in 2015, b) analysing and characterizing land cover transformations in the watershed in 1987, 2001 and 2015, and, c) comparing the forest cover dynamics with those of other studies in Kenya. The forest cover change analysis was undertaken through remote sensing and GIS analysis according to the following broad tasks: a) delineation of watershed ecosystem boundary, b) satellite land cover change analysis and ground trothing, c) comparative analysis with other studies. The analyses showed a decrease in wetland environments (40%), grasslands (24.4%), woodlands (21.9%), and forests (18.6%). The findings showed a major increase in the built environment (96.1%), sisal plantations (74.6%), bare ground (68.8%), and thicket (54.3%). There was a minor increase in the area under irrigated agriculture (18.6%), wooded grassland (11.6%), rain-fed agriculture (7.8%), and bushland (1.3%). The land cover change in the Chyulu watershed ecosystem was quite similar to other watershed ecosystems in the country and will eventually affect the role of the watershed as a critical dryland water tower.
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