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ISSN : 2456-8643

Title:
ASSESSMENT OF LAND DEGRADATION BY RUSLE MODEL USING REMOTE SENSING AND GIS: A CASE STUDY OF KENYA S LAKE VICTORIA BASIN

Authors:
Siro Ali Abdallah ,Tabitha Mukami Njoroge and John Odera Jaoko ,Kenya

Abstract:
The Lake Victoria Basin is facing major environmental challenges that have caused considerable hardship for the population depending on it for their livelihoods and have also reduced the biodiversity of the lake's flora and fauna. Deforestation coupled with bad agricultural practices has persistently exacerbated the problem of land degradation in the basin and sedimentation in the lake. Assessment of land degradation hazard is considered essential for soil conservation plans in the basin for sustainable development. The objective of this study was to identify and map the extent and severity levels of land degradation caused as a result of soil erosion by water on the Kenyan section of Lake Victoria basin (LVB) in order to support informed decisions for prioritizing and combating land degradation menace in the basin. We used Geospatial techniques and empirical soil erosion modeling techniques, mainly the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) Model that looked at five key soil erosion control parameters: vegetation cover, rainfall erosivity, slope factor, soil erodibility, and population density data as input variables. The results from modeling were subjected to field assessment in one of the identified hot spots in Bolo area in Kisumu County. Major erosion hotspots were found to be areas around Mumias, Bunyore, Kisumu, Kendu Bay, Ahero and south-western parts of Homa Bay. This study revealed that the lead contributing factor to soil erosion in the basin was soil erodibility component followed by rainfall erosivity, vegetation cover management, population density and finally slope factor. The study recommends comprehensive catchment level degradation assessment to be undertaken and prioritise the most affected areas.

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