Using GIS and Remote Sensing in Forest Change Analysis, Aberdares Forest in Kenya

Publication Date


Committee Chair

Ruijin Ma, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Douglas M. Flewelling, Ph.D.


Poverty and climate change are among the world’s largest problems of the 21st century. The rate of deforestation is also alarming. This has resulted to damaged habitats, biodiversity loss, aridity, and global warming. The effects of climate change are exacerbating, as many people continue to underestimate the importance of forest as water catchment areas. These effects are especially felt in the poor countries in Africa where the majority of the populations rely on rainfall and agriculture for their livelihoods. Thus, there is a great need to restore nature, and conserve biodiversity, and ecosystem services. The first step towards restoration of nature starts with identifying the affected areas. This project includes identifying and assessing the current status of Aberdares forest: areas of forest loss and forest gain between the years 2000 and 2008 so as to support the restoration of this vital ecosystem as well as enable implementation of carbon sequestration project in Aberdares to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. The project also discusses the calculation of surface areas of the deforested sites, calculation of number of tree seedlings required to rehabilitate these sites, identification of sources of the tree seedlings, and generation of least cost distances from the seedling sources to the planting sites. Maps, tabular data and models were created to enable the Green Belt Movement to easily understand the forest status, as well as automate the calculation processes. A web-based GIS system was also developed to enable the Green Belt Movement to access project information, monitor project progress and share information with project stakeholders and other interested groups.

Full text is available at the University of Redlands


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