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Impact of land use/cover changes on soil erosion in Western Kenya
journal contributionposted on 01.12.2020, 00:00 by BK Kogo, L Kumar, Richard KoechRichard Koech
This study examined the impact of land use/cover changes on soil erosion in western Kenya in the years 1995 and 2017. The study used the GIS-based Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) modelling approach and remote sensing assessment. The results showed that the average soil loss through sheet, rill and inter-rill soil erosion processes was 0.3 t/ha/y and 0.5 t/ha/y, in the years 1995 and 2017, respectively. Of the total soil loss, farms contributed more than 50%, both in 1995 and 2017 followed by grass/shrub (7.9% in 1995 and 11.9% in 2017), forest (16% in 1995 and 11.4% in 2017), and the least in built-up areas. The highest soil erosion rates were observed in farms cleared from forests (0.84 tons/ha) followed by those converted from grass/shrub areas (0.52 tons/ha). The rate of soil erosion was observed to increase with slope due to high velocity and erosivity of the runoff. Areas with high erodibility in the region are found primarily in slopes of more than 30 degrees, especially in Mt. Elgon, Chereng’anyi hills and Elgeyo escarpments. This study forms the first multi-temporal assessment to explore the extent of soil erosion and seeks to provide a useful knowledge base to support decision-makers in developing strategies to mitigate soil erosion for sustainable crop production.