Recent land-cover/use change associated with land degradation in the Lake Baringo catchment, Kenya, East Africa: evidence from Landsat TM and ETM

Lawrence M. Kiage, K.B. Liu, N.D. Walker, N. Lam and O.K. Huh

Many parts of East Africa are experiencing dramatic changes in land-cover/use at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, due to both climatic variability and human activities. Information about such changes is often required for planning, management, and conservation of natural resources. Several methods for land cover/change detection using Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery were empoloyed for Lake Baringo catchment in Kenya, East Africa. The Lake Baringo catchment presents a good example of environments experiencing remarkable land cover change due to multiple causes. Both the NDVI differencing and post-classification comparison effectively depicted the hotspots of land degradation and land/cover use change in the Lake Baringo catchment. Chance-detection analysis showed that the forest cover was the most affected, in some sections recording reductions of over 40% in a 14-year period. Deforestation and subsequent land degradation have increased the sediment yield in the lake resulting in reduction in lake surface area by over 10% and increased turibidity confirmed by the statistically significant increase (t= -84.699, p<0.001) in the albedo between 1986 and 2000. Although climatic variations may account for some of the canges in the lake catchment, most of the changes in land cover are inherently linked to mounting human and livestock population in the Lake Baringo catchment.

Ref: International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 28, No. 9, Sept. 18, 2007

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