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Assessment of Soil Erosion and Climate Variability on Kerio Valley Basin, Kenya

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: This study was aimed at assessing soil erosion, climate variation and how climate has affected both the agro climatic and agro-ological zones of Kerio Valley basin. The basin faces challenges especially soil loss, due to the massive degradation that takes place in Kerio valley. Due to the increase in rainfall recently experienced in the area, most of the top soil has been carried away leading to excessive degradation of the valley, causing soil loss in the basin and subsequent deposition of the sediments in Lake Kamnarok which is an oxbow lake posing it to the threat of extinction. All these aforementioned factors, i.e. soil erosion, climate variation and land degradation have contributed to reduction of water storage capacity of the Lake. The main objective of this study was to assess the effects of soil erosion, climate variation on the basin and climate effect on agro-climatic and agro-ecological zones of the basin. Agro-climatic zones show how climate variability shapes agricultural landscape of an area while agro-ological zones show how agriculture affects the ecology of the basin. This includes the reduction of the lake size that has led to the disruption of the ecology of Lake Kamnarok and its environs, the major implications being the lake size reduction as the lake is proved to be a home for reptiles especially crocodiles. All these factors were finally assessed to determine their effect on water reduction capacity of Lake Kamnarok. The results depicted that the major factors that have caused changes in the basin and the Lake include heavy rainfall that has resulted in soil erosion and subsequent land degradation. These factors have eventually affected the agroclimatic and agroecological zones of the basin. This study integrated the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) to assess the areas with massive degradation and to quantify the amount of soil loss using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model. It was concluded that the main factor that caused the changes in the agroclimatic and the agroecological zones was soil erosion which was influenced by climatic factors, i.e. rainfall and temperature.

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