Isaac Ongonga Ayuyo, Leonard Sweta
Abstract: The significance of the Mau complex is viewed within the context of the enormous biodiversity of flora and fauna. We evaluate land cover and use changes from 1973 to year 2010 through creation of geospatial tool for change detection. Analysis is carried out on trend of changes over this period with focus of identifying human activities responsible for these changes as well as the environmental impacts associated with the changes. Supervised classification has been applied on Landsat images of 1973, 1986, 2000 and 2010 with classification scheme of three main classes namely - forestland, other vegetation, and non-vegetated land. Post classification of both visual and area comparisons were done to get information on the trends, rates and magnitude of land cover and land use changes in the Mau forest complex over time. Variations in the greenness of the vegetation present in the pixel over time was done through normalized difference in vegetation index (NDVI) with density slices ranging from 0.25 m to 1.00 m (range of vegetation cover). The results of the study have showed that changes in land use and land cover had occurred in all the 22 blocks of Mau forest complex and resulted in the reduction of forest cover. It was further revealed that there was relationship between increase in population and decrease in forest cover and that, steep slopes were cleared of their forest as land use changed and subsequent loss of biodiversity and partly led to reduction in rainfall and subsequent decrease in river discharge.
Keywords: Change detection, GIS, Remote sensing, geospatial tool, land cover, NDVI