MONITORING THE RATE OF EXPANSION OF AGRICULTURAL FIELDS IN MWEKERA FOREST RESERVE USING REMOTE SENSING AND GIS
Rapid population growth and rural-urban migration amidst limited job opportunities lead to conversion of land from forests into agriculture and other land uses. In this study, Zambia’s Mwekera national forest reserve was used as a case study to assess the rate of expansion of agricultural fields using remote sensing and GIS. Iterative Self-Organizing Data Analysis Technique (ISODATA) as well as maximum likelihood supervised classification on four Landsat images as well as accuracy assessment of the classifications was performed. Over the period under observation, results indicate annual percentage changes to be −0.03, −0.49 and 1.26 for agriculture, forests and settlement respectively indicating a higher conversion of forests into human settlements and agriculture.