Mapping for Sustainable Development
Kasarani, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 723 786161

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As we mark World Environment Day under the theme "Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience," it is essential to highlight the critical role of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in combating land degradation and shed light on two of our implementing service areas: land degradation monitoring and assessment and wetland monitoring and assessment under the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and Africa program. These two thematic areas assert our commitment to enhancing sustainable development and environmental conservation and monitoring across our 14 implementing countries in the Eastern Africa region.


Contribution towards Land Restoration: Land Degradation Monitoring and Assessment

Land degradation is a pressing issue that threatens biodiversity, food security, and livelihoods. Under the GMES and Africa programme, we utilise Earth observation data to assess the extent and severity of land degradation at regional, national, and local levels, build the technical capacity of national institutions and relevant stakeholders to generate monitoring services for land degradation, and raise awareness of interconnected land degradation issues with policy and decision makers towards land degradation neutrality (restoration).

Under this service area, RCMRD has developed a Land Degradation Index Map (LDIM) that is currently being utilised by various institutions to shape and inform their land restoration strategic plans. A notable example is the Ethiopia Biodiversity Institute, which uses the LDIM to inform its National Biodiversity Strategic Plan. This innovative tool is pivotal in shaping national and regional strategies for biodiversity and ecosystem restoration. This plan focuses on Biological Diversity Targets 1–3, which aim to:

Manage all areas to reduce biodiversity loss by implementing sustainable management practices to mitigate the loss of biodiversity across diverse ecosystems.

Restore 30% of degraded ecosystems.

Conserve 30% of land, water, and sea: protecting significant portions of terrestrial and aquatic environments to maintain biodiversity and ecological balance.

In Kenya, the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) leverages the LDIM to identify highly degraded areas for targeted restoration interventions. This tool has played a critical role in prioritising regions for restoration efforts and ensuring that resources are effectively allocated to combat land degradation. This dataset will be instrumental in guiding the Kenyan government's strategic decisions regarding priority areas for tree planting across the 47 counties. By analysing the LDIM data, we aim to identify highly degraded areas for intervention, ensuring the maximum ecological and societal impact'. Vincent Imala, Geo-Information Officer at DRSRS

The Kenya Forest Service also utilizes the LDIM as part of its forest and land restoration efforts under the Landscape Restoration Programme in Laikipia County. This initiative aligns with the President's ambitious goal of achieving 30% tree cover by 2032. Through our contributions to forest conservation, the LDIM advises on priority areas for tree planting across Kenya's 47 counties, supporting the national tree planting initiative. 


A Land Degradation Index Map for Kenya in 2022


Contribution towards Wetland Restoration: Wetland Monitoring and Assessment

Wetlands are vital ecosystems that provide numerous ecological services, including water filtration, flood control, and habitat for biodiversity. RCMRD has been implementing the wetland monitoring and assessment service area under the GMES and Africa programme, which seeks to identify and quantify wetland changes, build institutional and human capacities in accessing and utilizing EO data in assessing and monitoring wetlands, and improve the decision-making process in the management of wetlands as a natural resource through the provision of additional pertinent information.

These efforts involve using advanced remote sensing technologies to monitor changes in wetland extent, health, and biodiversity. Our assessments help guide conservation actions and policy decisions to protect these crucial habitats. For instance:

Lake Ol Bolosat: Our monitoring activities have provided critical data on the lake's fluctuating water levels and the impact of human activities, informing local conservation strategies.

 Lake Natron: We have conducted extensive studies on the lake's unique ecosystem, home to one of the world's largest populations of flamingos, helping to balance conservation efforts with sustainable tourism.

Kilombero Valley: Our work in this expansive wetland area supports efforts to maintain its ecological integrity, which is vital for the livelihoods of local communities and the rich biodiversity it harbours.

Lake Tana: RCMRD, through its Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment service, has developed wetland change maps for the Tana Wetland in Ethiopia. These maps support the Ethiopia Biodiversity Institute in managing and protecting the region's biodiversity. They have enabled the institute to effectively monitor changes in biodiversity resulting from shifting wetland conditions.

Through land degradation monitoring and wetland assessment, we provide essential data and tools that empower nations to make informed decisions for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. On this World Environment Day, we reaffirm our dedication to ensuring a resilient and thriving environment for future generations.

For more information about our projects and their impact, please visit our website.





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Roysambu, Kasarani
Nairobi, Kenya

+254 020 2680748 / 2680722
+254 723 786161 / +254 735 981098


P.O. Box 632-00618 Nairobi, Kenya

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