Assessment of Forest Rehabilitation and Restocking Along Mt. Kenya East Forest Reserve Using Remote Sensing Data
The nationwide ban on harvesting of forest products in 1999 was aimed at promoting regeneration of forest resources in Kenya after years of uncontrolled intensive logging. This was followed by massive tree planting programs spearheaded by the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) and other stakeholders. It is estimated that millions of tree seedlings were availed to support the program. One of the heavily affected forests was Mount Kenya Forest Reserve gazetted in 1932. The diverse tree species and its proximity to human settlements has made this important national water tower vulnerable to deforestation and illegal logging. Despite development of a ten year Mt. Kenya ecosystem management plan (2010-2020) to address threats to Mount Kenya’s natural resources, comprehensive mapping of degraded areas to inform rehabilitation program has not been carried out along the perceived forest-human activity transition zone. This study sought to assess effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts moreso restocking after the 10-year ban. This will ascertain success or failure of such an ambitious program and inform probable causes and if possible advise on the way forward. Geospatial approaches and tools were integrated in data collection, analysis and presentation. Such tools especially remote sensing and GIS have been applied in forest cover spatial extent mapping as well as forest change detection analysis.