Towards projecting Land Use Impacts on Carbon Stocks and Soil Health in Kenya using Standardized Field Measurement Protocols and Satellite Image Analysis

Published on 9 November 2010

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Timeline

Start Date: 1 July 2010 | End Date: 30 September 2011

Overview

The potential for landscape size payment for ecosystem services to directly influence poverty reduction in rural communities has been recognized for sometime now. However implementation of such a scheme has been hindered by a lack of adequate comparative empirical data for these areas.

This project seeks to change this through further development of a scientific approach and comparative analytical assessment of data collected from both arid and semi arid lands (ASAL) of Laikipia district in Kenya and higher potential agricultural land in Kenya’s rift valley province. Field data and samples will be collected from two 100 sq km sentinel sites situated in high agricultural potential areas. The data will be analyzed and compared with existing data and samples taken from two similar sites, situated in the ASAL of Laikipia.

Using satellite technology, undertaking soil carbon stable isotope analyses and examining historical data the analysis will provide detailed assessments of the impacts of land use change on carbon status, and overall soil and ecosystem health of these landscapes. The project will develop a theoretical framework for projecting land use impacts on carbon stock changes and other ecosystem benefits that can be initialized and run from empirical data collected in the field and available satellite imagery. This research will enable credible assessment of existing carbon stocks, provide project developers with reduced monitoring and evaluation costs, provide project financiers with credible and proven carbon/ecosystem resource credits, and offer added value to community implementation in programs to enhance the environment.

Project outputs are as follows:
1. A scientific report giving (i) a theoretical framework for projecting land use impacts on carbon stock changes and other ecosystem benefits that can be initialized and run from empirical data collected in the field and available satellite imagery (ii) illustration of the approach using data from four 100 km2 sentinel sites, two in pastoralist areas and two in agricultural areas.
Geo-referenced databases on carbon stocks and soil health for four sentinel sites in Kenya.

2. Two Kenyan field teams fully trained in the Land Degradation Surveillance framework field protocols. Ten Kenyan scientists trained in data management and statistical analysis techniques for carbon and soil health measurement and monitoring. Training materials in statistical analysis of soil carbon and health data with worked examples.

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