Forest Cover and Ecosystem Service Change: Assessing Household Economic Vulnerability to Drought Shocks in the Central Districts of Uganda

In Uganda, natural forests have undergone both spatial and temporal changes from various drivers, which need to be controlled in order to determine the effect on habitats of such changes and to avoid the associated risks of reducing the benefits of ecosystem services. Due to dual ownership, ground research can be complicated, although remote sensing techniques and GIS application allow rapid multi-temporal detection of changes in forest cover and provide a cost-effective alternative for inaccessible areas and their use to detect changes in ecosystem service. The overall objective of this study was to use satellite measurements to study forest change and relate it to reducing the value of ecosystem services (fresh water) in the study area using a representative Landsat scene sample, Using soil moisture content time series satellite data, the effect of forest cover loss on drought prevalence is also assessed. In addition to evaluating the economic vulnerability of households to drought in rural Uganda ‘s central districts, In this paper, together with post-classification comparison, an integrated approach of remotely derived indices was used to detect forest cover and ecosystem service transition. In addition , the analysis used soil moisture content data from the satellite time series to determine drought prevalence and household susceptibility to drought shocks. Our new contribution is the ability to detect a decrease in private and central reserve forest cover on a multi-temporal scale along with ecosystem coverage. Reduction of profit in the 20-year period (1986-2005) using remotely derived indices. Analysis of change detection showed that in five sub-counties of Mpigi, forest cover decreased significantly than in Butambala by 5.99 percent, disturbed forest was 3 percent, farm land increased by 44 percent, grassland decreased by 62.5 percent and light vegetation increased by 63.6 percent. The two areas most impacted have suffered decreases in fresh water. The two SPI and SWDI drought indices confirmed the presence of drought shocks that have triggered household vulnerability to food insecurity and welfare instability. Resource managers , especially natural forests, must also include private resource owners in the conservation effort in order to ensure a sustainable supply of ecosystem service benefits and preservation of standard welfare.

Author (s) Details

Ausi A. Ssentongo
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.

Daniel Darkey
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.

Joseph Mutyaba
National Forestry Authority, 10/20 Spring Road, P.O. Box 70863 Bugolobi, Kampala, Uganda.

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