Human Population Growth and its Implications on the use and Trends of Land Resources in Migori County, Kenya
Ogola, Pauline Tolo
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The world population was at 7.3 billion people in 2015, and is projected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion people in 2100. Population in the developing countries which Kenya is part of is expected to rise from 5.9 billion in 2013 to 8.2 billion in 2050 to 9.6 billion in 2100. Increasing human population and the threats posed by climate change continue to put pressure on the already limited environmental resources that support life on earth. This is evident in the case of land resources such as forests, cropland and water. Unsustainable human activities in fragile areas such as gold mining in Macalder, Migori are aggravated by natural disturbance such as drought or flooding and lead to land degradation and desertification. The main objective of the study was to establish the effects of human population growth on cropland, forestland and water resources in Migori Sub-county. The specific objectives of the study were to examine the human population growth patterns in Migori Sub-county between 1979 and 2013; to examine the trends and patterns of forestland, croplands and water resources in Migori Sub- county between 1979 and 2013 and to analyse the relationship between human population growth, forestland, cropland and water resources in Migori Sub- county between 1979 and 2013. The study adopted a survey approach. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from various sources, analysed, interpreted and presented in a report. Simple random sampling method was employed to establish the sampling frame based on a list obtained from the local administration. A total of 150 questionnaires were administered to the selected households. Population data obtained from the KNBS and world gridded data were used to show population changes and showed that the population has been increasing from 1979 to 2009 (the period under study). Satellite images for the years 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 and 2013 were processed in ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS 10.3 and used to create land cover/land use and change maps. Primary data was collected in the field for validating land cover classification and accuracy assessment. Secondary data was obtained from scientific books, reports and journals to provide a context for the research. The mapped data from satellite image of 1979 indicated a Cropland cover of 182,416.2ha, a forest cover of 1,560ha and water body cover of 55,528.6ha. In 1989 forestland increased slightly to 2,593.6ha and to 3,828.8ha in 1999 but declined in, 2009 and 2013 to 3,519ha and 2,475.1ha respectively. Water resources depicted a continuous decline from 55,528.6ha in 1979 to 54,767ha in 2013. Croplands exhibited an irregular pattern occupying 76.2% in 1979 and 75.5% of the total area in 1989 and 75.8% in 2013. Farming which occupies the croplands is the main cause for loss of forestland. Two- tailed T-tests conducted indicated that there was a significant relationship between population growth and losses/gains in cropland, forestland and water resources with the value of P at 0.02, 0.008 and 0.009 respectively. The study thus established that population growth impacts on land resources in various ways. This study recommends that sustainable use of land resources should be embraced as the methods already in place do not suffice. This study provides base information for the national government, county governments, the academia, NGOs and the community on the status of land resources for necessary interventions and to ensure that they are used sustainably for posterity.