Changing Land Use Patterns and Their Impacts on Wild Ungulates in Kimana Wetland Ecosystem, Kenya
Nyamasyo, Stephen Kitina
Kihima, Bonface Odiara
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In Kenya, wildlife numbers have drastically declined due to land use changes (LUCs) over the past three decades.This has affected wildlife habitats by converting them into farmlands and human settlements. This study used remote sensing data from landsat satellite to analyze the changing land use patterns between 1980 and 2013 and their impacts on wild ungulates in KWE.The objective of the study was to map out LUCs, determine the possible causes of LUCs, and examine the effects of LUCs on wild ungulates. The results showed a noticeable increase in the size of farmland, settlement, and other lands and a decline in forestland, grassland, wetland, and woodland.The main possible causes of LUC were found to be agricultural expansions, human population dynamics, economic factors, changing land tenure policy, politics, and sociocultural factors. The main effects of LUCs on wild ungulates in KWE include a decline in wild ungulate numbers, habitat destruction, increased human-wildlife conflicts, land degradation, and displacement of wild ungulates by livestock. The study recommends land use zoning of KWE and establishment of an effective and efficient wildlife benefit-sharing scheme(s).