Assessing the landscape composition of Mabira Forest
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The composition of a landscape is defined by the spatial elements that are distinguished in the map and believed to be relevant to the landscape function under consideration. Composition represents the non-spatial aspect of a landscape, since only number and abundance of landscape elements is considered, not their spatial configuration. The configuration of a landscape is defined by the spatial character, arrangement and context of the elements. Configuration represents the spatial aspect of a landscape. The study of LULC along with fragmentation at the landscape level helps improve our understanding of the pace at which conversion of landscape elements is happening. LULC only would not show how each land use is reducing in size, proximity and shape among other things that determine ecosystem services this is because it focuses only how one LULC is converting from one type to another. The main objective of the study to examine the landscape composition of Mabira forest using satellite images of over a period of two decades. Classification and change analysis of forest cover type and landscape patterns analysis was carried out. landscape metrics were calculated by using FRAGSTATS software. The results showed four land use/land cover (LULC) types in the study area. Wet lands reduced at rate of 24.2% and tropic high forest reduced at the rate of 3.2% while the impediments increased at a rate of 18.4% and the subsistence farmland increased at a rate of 8.8% respectively. This meant that loss of forest cover was approximately 32868000sqmetres (7.4%). This expressed an annual loss of approximately 1494000sqmetres (0.32%)from 1995 to 2017. This degradation of forest cover increased relatively with the increase of subsistence farmlands which largely expanded from 15.90% in 1995 to 24.48% in 2017. The six landscape indices chosen at class level indicated a considerable fragmentation in the forested area and highest fragmentation in the non-forested area These results should be helpful for the policy-makers and managers of the forest to establish adequate policies to mitigate the forest loss and degradation by implementing quick and effective solutions.