Table of Contents
International Journal of Biodiversity
Volume 2014, Article ID 486727, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/486727
Research Article

Changing Land Use Patterns and Their Impacts on Wild Ungulates in Kimana Wetland Ecosystem, Kenya

1Wildlife Management, Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute, P.O. Box 842, Naivasha 20117, Kenya
2Hospitality and Tourism, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 16778, Mombasa 80100, Kenya

Received 26 May 2014; Revised 15 October 2014; Accepted 29 October 2014; Published 3 December 2014

Academic Editor: Arianna Azzellino

Copyright © 2014 Stephen Kitina Nyamasyo and Bonface Odiara Kihima. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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).