Assessing Ecosystem service values due to land use and land cover changes in the forested landscapes of Hoima District.
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Land use and Land cover change (LULCC) attributed to natural factors and human activities has led to the loss of ecosystem services, making the quantitative valuation of ecosystem services the scientific focal point for sustainable development. This study assessed changes in the ecosystem services values (ESVs) due to LULCC during the period 1990–2020 in the forested landscapes of Hoima district, located in Western Uganda. Moderate resolution Landsat images from 1990, 2000,2011 and 2020 were obtained and analyzed using a random forest (RF) algorithm for classification, and ArcGIS Desktop software (version 10.5, Esri,) for mapping to assess the LULCC. The ESVs were estimated based on the benefit transfer approach using modified local value coefficients. The results revealed that the aggregated ESVs of the Forests, Grassland, Wetlands, and Water had decreased, consequently leading to a total loss of US$ 27.8 million (3.4%) in ESVs over the past 30 years. Moreover, the loss in the ESV was attributed to the decreased values of water regulation, climate regulation, erosion control, nutrient cycling, habitat/refugia, and water supply, with the exception of the values of food production and biological control, which gradually increased during the study period. This study provided minimum estimates of the ecosystem service values, which will contribute to the formulation of policy actions and strategies for sustainable management of the study area and other similar landscapes and inform various stakeholders on the tradeoffs involved in the use of land resources. Hence, to enhance the continuous supply of ES and economic development, an integrated approach to managing land and water resources is recommended. Moreover, Payment for ES is also a potential remedy for ES loss at the regional and local scale.