Evaluation of Land Use/Land Cover Change with Time in Assessing Soil Erosion Risk in Isiukhu River Catchment, Kakamega County, Kenya
An evaluation of land use/land cover (LULC) change with time in assessing soil erosion risk is essential in soil conservation and environmental management. Land use/land cover management factor (C) plays crucial role in determination of soil loss and thus affects agricultural production. Land use/land cover is influenced by anthropogenic activities. Isiukhu river catchment and its environs have experienced fatal landslides leading to loss of lives and property. Land use/land cover change between 1990 and 2015 was determined in ArcGIS 10.3 environment. Soil erosion risk was determined by applying revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) model in ArcGIS 10.3. The LULC changed with time, in 1990 weighted mean of C factor was 0.051 and in 2015 was 0.344. The soil erosion risk was influenced by change in LULC, in 1990 weighted mean (RUSLEweightedmean) was 7.2 t/ha/y and 85% of the catchment was within soil loss tolerance limit (12t/ha/y), and in 2015 weighted mean (RUSLEweighted mean) was 32 t/ha/y and only 3% of the catchment was within tolerance limit. This could be due to degradation of natural cover within the catchment. Deforestation as a result of farming activities and settlement in the catchment forest could have led to exposure of ground to surface run-off. The high rate of soil erosion could be reduced by controlling encroachment on the forest, proper land use/land cover through multiple-cropping and implementation of soil erosion control support practices.
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