Assessing community perceptions and response to climate change in nyando catchment using geospatial technology

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Betty Mulianga
Ivy Ng'onyere


Geospatial; Remote sensing; Climate; Degradation; Conservation; Floods


The world is experiencing climate crisis that is threatening lives. Those in low lands are displaced by floods loosing possessions and food crops; while those in hilly areas experience land degradation and vegetation loss leading to poverty. Monitoring such occurrence through time is inevitable as it enables governments to make critical decisions for environmental conservation, enhanced resilience and minimize risks of food insecurity. This study explored the use of geospatial technology to investigate climate risk indicators within Nyando catchment. Geospatial technology provides a platform to monitor occurrences of extreme weather conditions, facilitates the understanding of end to end temporal changes of the environment and provides an environment for modelling future scenarios. We derived indicators of climate change within Nyando catchment over the period 2013 to 2021 and inferred their impact on livelihoods.  We collected data on rainfall, vegetation cover and land use from Landsat 8 30m satellite images and in situ data using the Mobile mapper global positioning system (GPS) within Nyando catchment. We overlaid these data, characterized them and performed change detection using Erdas Imagine software. Results showed 9.9% reduction in forest cover, 54.1% sedimentation of water areas, 3.9% loss of agricultural land and 2.5% increase in built up areas. The main land use in Nyando catchment is agriculture followed with settlement. We inferred that loss of forest cover is the reason for sedimentation of the water areas, subjecting lowlands to flooding. Moreover, conversion of forest land to agricultural land and settlement were fund to be the main drivers for climate crisis. Indeed agro-ecological approaches to farming will increase forest area while maximizing on vertical farming for increased productivity to meet the ever growing demand for food. We recommend adoption of geospatial technology in monitoring of the landscape for informed decision making to avert risks of climate change.