ASSESSING APPLICATION OF MARKOV CHAIN ANALYSIS IN PREDICTING LAND COVER CHANGE: A CASE STUDY OF NAKURU MUNICIPALITY
Keywords:GIS, land cover, Markov modelling, Nakuru municipality, satellite remote sensing.
Land use/cover change is a major global environmental change issue and projecting these changes is essential for the assessment of environmental impacts. In this study, a combined use of satellite remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and markov chains stochastic modelling techniques were employed in analysing and projecting land use/cover changes. The results indicate that there has been a notable and uneven urban growth and substantial loss in forest land, and that the land use/ cover change process has not stabilized. The study demonstrates that the integration of satellite remote sensing and GIS can be an effective approach for analyzing the spatial-temporal patterns of land use/cover change. Further integration of these two techniques with Markov modelling was found to be beneficial in describing, analysing and projecting land use/cover change process. The projected land use/ cover for 2015 show substantial increase in urban and agricultural land uses.