Prosopis spp. are a fast growing invasive tree originating from the American dry zones, introduced to Kenya in the 1970s for the restoration of degraded pastoral lands after prolonged droughts and overgrazing. Its deep rooting system is capable of tapping into the ground water table reducing its dependency on rain water and increasing its drought tolerance. It is believed that the Prosopis invasion was eased by a hybridization process, described as the Prosopis Juliflora – Prosopis Pallida complex, suggesting that introduced Prosopis spp. evolved into a hybrid, specifically adapted to the environmental conditions, rendering it a superior and aggressive competitor to endemic species. In many dry lands in Kenya Prosopis has expanded rapidly and has become challenging to control. On the other hand, in some cases, an economic use seems possible. In both cases, detailed and accurate maps are necessary to support stakeholders and design management strategies. The aim of this study is to map the distribution of Prosopis spp. in a selected area in north-west Turkana (Kenya), covering a section of the Tarach water basin. The study is funded by the European Union through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) in Kenya, and the main purpose is to assess the potential production of Prosopis pods, which can be used to manufacture emergency livestock feeds to support animals during drought events. The classification was performed using novel Sentinel-2 data through a non-parametric Random Forest classifier. A selection of reference sites was visited in the field and used to train the classifier. Very high classification accuracies were obtained.
Wai-Tim Ng, Markus Immitzer, Matthias Floriansitz, Francesco Vuolo, Luigi Luminari, Chrisgone Adede, Raphael Wahome, and Clement Atzberger, "Mapping Prosopis spp. within the Tarach water basin, Turkana, Kenya using Sentinel-2 imagery," Proc. SPIE 9998, Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XVIII, 99980L (Presented at SPIE Remote Sensing: September 27, 2016; Published: 25 October 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2241279.
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