The general goal of LUCID is to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and prevention of land degradation by providing useful instruments to identify and monitor changes in the landscape associated with biodiversity loss and land degradation, and identify the root causes of those changes.

This project was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme – Global Environment Facility (UNEP-GEF) as the project, “Land use change analysis as an approach for investigating biodiversity loss and land degradation project,” project number: GF/1030-01-01.

Primary Goals:

  1. To analyze new and existing data concerning the linkages between the processes of change in biodiversity, land degradation, and land use to design a guide on how to use land use change analysis to identify spatial and temporal trends, and linkages, of change in biodiversity and land degradation.
  2. To integrate ecological, socio-economic and land use data and theory to develop a replicable, analytical framework to identify the root causes of land use change leading to changes in biodiversity and land degradation, and
  3. To provide integrated data and information on the patterns and trends in land use, biodiversity and land degradation in East Africa that will provide a basis for more effective local, national, and regional programs.


To address the outlined goals, the project will prepare a guidebook by the third year of study. The guidebook will provide methodological advice on how to use land use change analysis. It will also identify and monitor changes in biodiversity and land degradation.

Each site has a working team to carry out research activities and the teams comprise of a site leader, scientists and students.

The objectives of the project’s fieldwork are two fold:

  1. To test and refine methods, and
  2. To provide scientific information on the linkages between land use change, and changes in biodiversity and land degradation for each site.

These objectives are being met using previously gathered information as much as possible. The socio-economic component of the research is particularly based on existing data, and on team members’ reflections of various methods that they have experienced.

In order to have cross-site comparability of the linkages, however, ecological information in particular is being collected in a common framework in each site. This information and data collection methods to ensure cross-site comparability are summarized in the table below.

LUCC Driving Forces

Surveys Group Interviews Key Information Interviews Transect (Quadrat) GIS Analysis
Land Use/Cover Change(LUCC) X X X X X
Ecosystem Diversity X X
Ecosystem Distribution X X
Preceptions of Soil X X X
Plant Indicators of Soil Degradation X X
Soil Erosion Estimates X X
Soil Chemical & Texture X
Plant Species Diversity X X
Wild Fauna Diversity X X

*LUCC – Land Use Cover Change

Expected Project Outputs

The following scientific results are expected:

  1. A better understanding of land-use and land-cover dynamics over the last 5 decades for several study areas across East Africa.
  2. Identification of driving forces of land-use/-cover change; development of models linking these driving forces to the observed land-use/-cover changes.
  3. A better understanding of the consequences of land-use/land cover change for people and ecosystems.
  4. A cadre of trained scientists and policy makers who better understand land-use change and can implement policies to improve land management.

The following types of outputs are expected over the next five years:

  1. A considerable number of project reports and papers in international peer-reviewed journals with themes of LUCC relevance.
  2. Further conceptual development of the specific and generic drivers of land-use/land cover change.
  3. Development of methodologies; e.g, ecological and social monitoring systems, role playing for policy makers, generic models of land-use change, how to use land use change to identify and monitor changes in biodiversity and land degradation.
  4. Development of a wide range of models and scenarios to help policy makers better understand how different policy and management interventions will affect land use, ecosystems and people.
  5. Creation of GIS and remote sensing data-bases, including both physical-biological and socio-economic data, for all the study areas.
  6. Establishment of in-country capacity to carry out research and monitoring activities, and to develop more informed policies concerning land-use/-cover change.


Measured Results

Working Papers

Maitima, Joseph M. and Jennifer M. Olson. 2001. Guide to Field Methods for Comparative Site Analysis for the Land Use Change, Impacts and Dynamics Project.
PDF 1.4 MB

Butt, Bilal and Jennifer M. Olson. 2002. An approach to dual land use and land cover interpretation of 2001 satellite imagery of the eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya.
PDF 2.8 MB

Campbell, David J., Jennifer M. Olson, Thomas A. Smucker and Elizabeth Edna Wangui. 2003. Community workshops in the study of land-use dynamics: Examples from Kenya.
PDF 300 KB

Maitima, J., R.S. Reid, L.N. Gachimbi, A. Majule, H. Lyaruu, D. Pomeroy, S. Mugatha, S. Mathai, S. Mugisha . 2004. A Methodological Guide on How to Identify Trends and Linkages Between Changes in Land Use, Biodiversity and Land Degradation.
PDF 300 KB

Olson, Jennifer M., Salome Misana, David J. Campbell, Milline Mbonile and Sam Mugisha. 2004. A Research Framework to Identify the Root Causes of Land Use Change Leading to Land Degradation and Changing Biodiversity.
PDF 892 KB