Spatial analysis of trees outside forests as influenced by land use categories in River Sio Basin, Kenya
Kweyu, M. Raphael
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Trees Outside Forests (TOF) as elemements of the landscape form a vital resourse.TOF have in principle similar functions as trees in forests through environmental, economic and social services. Generally, TOF can act as buffers to alleviate pressure on natural forests as their products often can be substituted to forest products. however, this resourse has been threatened with disturbances related with human activities. This study was aimed at analysing the distribution of TOF spatially, that is, in different land use categories. Such a study has significant contribution to sustainable utilization of the resourse in Sio River Basin as well as other river basins with similar situations in Kenya and Beyond. The analysis helps in understanding the relations between TOF and their environment in order to achieve a sustainable management of the tree resourse. Within this context, TOF assessment was carried out using a stratified was carried out using the parameters basal area per hectare (BA/ha), number of trees per hectare (NT/ha=density), and trees products. In the study area, TOF information was collected using a stratified random sampling design, and data collection involved tree counts, measuring of diameter at breast height (DBH) and an informal interview for socio-economic survey. The collected data were categorised into four river distance zones and into six Land Use Categorised (LUC). Data analysis involved testing the relations between TOF, and LUC. Results indicate that TOF BA/ha and NT/ha significantly correlate with LUC. This means that land use systems affect the distribution of TOF. Results from socio-economic survey revealed that the competitive nature of trees with food crops is the main reason restraining farmers from planting trees on their fields. Other factors include lack of adequate land and tree seedlings. The survey on tree products depicts that farmers rely on TOF mainly for building followed by fuel. The study recommends that efforts of tree planting practices should be strengthened among farmers. Farmers should be encouraged to plant fast growing exotic trees, which will provide products such as income, building materials and fuel wood and also generate income.