Assessment of carbon sequestration potential in Mount Marsabit forest, modeling, impact of land use change in different climate change scenarios

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Land use changes are considered to be the dominant drivers for regional terrestrial carbon sinks depletion significantly influencing surface climate, through biophysical interactions.


Marsabit forest is under severe threat of degradation from anthropogenic activities with possible effects on ecosystem services and functions; key amongst that is carbon sequestration. A study on the sustainance of carbon sequstration potential in Mount Marsabit forest will be undertaken. The main objective of this study is to asses the carbon sequstration potential of Mount Marsabit forest, under impact of land use change in different climate change scenarios.


Two transects will be delineated from either side of the forest with a cluster measuring 10km by 10km with 16 plots measuring 2.5km by 2.5km. Estimation of above ground biomass will be through recording of diameter of trees at breast height and diameter of woody vegetation at 2 cm in 1 m by 1 m frames. Estimates for above ground biomass for each tree (kg/tree) will be done using an appropriate allometric equation based on the trees species. Calculations will be done for the carbon stock in a sub-plot, for the sample plot and then carbon stock in tones per hectare. Carbon stocks of the whole forest will be calculated from extrapolation of the site level.


For the estimation of below ground biomass, soil samples will be taken from the four corners and at the center of the 30m by 30m sample plot. Soils samples will be collected using a soil auger at two depths 0-20 and 20-50 cm, where soil depth allows. Soil profile pits at 1.5 m depths will be dug in three plots within a cluster. Soils from pit walls will be collected at 10 cm intervals up to a depth of 150 cm using core rings (5 cm diameter and 5 cm height) to ascertain carbon changes with depth. The soil samples will be analyzed for carbon levels and other macro elements in the laboratory using MIR analysis.


Land use changes from previous years will be identified through satellite imagery and recorded and analyzed using Arc view GIS software. The century model used to compare current carbon stocks with the same land cover classes in 1975, 1986, 2000 and 2005, 2014, modeling past and future scenarios. The participatory scenario development method will be used to determine impact of key drivers of forest disturbance on the provision of ecosystem goods and services. Scenario development process together with analysis of questionnaires using ANOVA will be used to determine impacts of land use change on ecosystem services and identify appropriate adaptation options. Temperature and rainfall data for the years will be collected from secondary data from Kenya Meteorological Department and subjected to decadal series analysis.

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