Effects of Land Use Land Cover Change on Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Mbarara District.
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To explore the impact of human activities on the global carbon cycle, carbon emission has become one of the major concerns in academic circles. Land use and land cover change directly influence carbon storage and emissions and it has been one of the main factors that cause the rapid growth of CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere leading to climate change. The purpose of this study was to estimate the amount of CO₂ emissions due to land use and land cover changes from 2002 to 2017. Using a random forest classifier, land cover maps for 2002 and 2017 were produced and land cover change data generated by using a change detection matrix. CO₂ emissions were computed using the Tier 2 method for assigning emission factors to each land use and land cover change class. The biomass carbon gain-loss method was used to estimate carbon stock changes. From 2002 to 2017, Mbarara district lost 78% and 7% of woodland forest and wetlands areas respectively, however, plantation forests, grassland, farmlands, and built-up areas gained by 3128%, 19%, 22%, and 132% respectively. Area of land cover changes yielded 63,488 Tonnes/15years of net CO₂ emissions to the atmosphere. Human activities are highly associated with carbon CO₂ emissions with farmland’s 157,727 Tonnes/15years CO₂ emissions highest contributor to the net emissions. The study establishes the influence of LULCC on the carbon cycle by directly linking land cover change areas derived from remote sensing data to respective estimates of CO₂ emissions.