Forests are important in the lives of local communities as they provide poles for construction, wood fuel for cooking, help reduce soil erosion and provide various foods and medicines due to biodiversity. Most local communities depend on forests in supplementing their livelihoods. At the moment, forests are being lost and it is important to understand the impacts of the lost. Therefore, the objective of the study was to provide a holistic evaluation of the impacts of deforestation on ecosystem services in Kamfinsa sub-catchment of Kitwe in Zambia. Loss of forest biomass, biodiversity, and soil erosion were key proxy variables for loss of ecosystem services. Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote sensing techniques were used to assess the impacts on the ecosystem. The results showed that deforestation reached 576.3 ha per year during the period studied. The forest loss corresponds to an emission of 43.73 ton of carbon per hectare from above and below ground biomass valued at US$243.60 per hectare. According to this research soil erosion risk assessment, 1.59 ton of soil was lost per hectare per year, equivalent to US$ 57.20 loss per hectare. The indigenous forest cover reduced from 13,430.5 ha (1990) to 2,904.7 ha (2010), with a corresponding change in NDVI index for loss of forest vigor and biodiversity of 0.56 and 0.32, respectively. The major forest loss occurred from indigenous forests. The study has shown that deforestation in Kamfinsa sub-catchment area calls for the urgent promotion of an integrated and comprehensive approach to addressing the drivers of deforestation to ensure continued supply of ecosystem services.
Key words: Carbon budget, carbon dioxide, emission, forestry, land degradation, natural resource management, remote sensing, water-shade.
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