IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Modelling agricultural expansion in Kenya's Eastern Arc Mountains biodiversity hotspot


  • Maeda, Eduardo Eiji
  • Clark, Barnaby J.F.
  • Pellikka, Petri
  • Siljander, Mika


The Taita Hills are the northernmost part of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania, which is one of the most important regions for biological conservation in the world. The indigenous cloud forests in this area have suffered substantial degradation for several centuries due to agricultural expansion. In the Taita Hills, currently only 1% of the original forested area remains preserved. In order to create effective policies to preserve the natural resources and biodiversity of the Eastern Arc Mountains it is crucial to understand the causes and interactions involved in the landscape changes in the most degraded areas. The research presented here aimed to understand the role of landscape attributes and infrastructure components as driving forces of agricultural expansion in the Taita Hills. Geospatial technology tools and a landscape dynamic simulation model were integrated to identify and evaluate the driving forces of agricultural expansion and simulate future landscape scenarios. The results indicate that, if current trends persist, agricultural areas will occupy roughly 60% of the study area by 2030. Agricultural expansion will likely take place predominantly in lowlands and foothills throughout the next 20Â years, increasing the spatial dependence on distance to rivers and other water bodies. The main factors driving the spatial distribution of new croplands were the distance to markets, proximity to already established agricultural areas and distance to roads. Other driving forces of the agricultural expansion, as well as their implications for natural resources conservation, are discussed. Further studies are necessary to integrate the effects of population pressure and climate change on the sustainability and characteristics of local agricultural systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Maeda, Eduardo Eiji & Clark, Barnaby J.F. & Pellikka, Petri & Siljander, Mika, 2010. "Modelling agricultural expansion in Kenya's Eastern Arc Mountains biodiversity hotspot," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(9), pages 609-620, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:103:y:2010:i:9:p:609-620

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric Koomen & Piet Rietveld & Ton Nijs, 2008. "Modelling land-use change for spatial planning support," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(1), pages 1-10, March.
    2. Washington-Ottombre, C. & Pijanowski, B. & Campbell, D. & Olson, J. & Maitima, J. & Musili, A. & Kibaki, T. & Kaburu, H. & Hayombe, P. & Owango, E. & Irigia, B. & Gichere, S. & Mwangi, A., 2010. "Using a role-playing game to inform the development of land-use models for the study of a complex socio-ecological system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 117-126, March.
    3. Thornton, Philip K. & Jones, Peter G. & Alagarswamy, Gopal & Andresen, Jeff & Herrero, Mario, 2010. "Adapting to climate change: Agricultural system and household impacts in East Africa," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 73-82, February.
    4. repec:eee:ecomod:v:209:y:2007:i:2:p:169-188 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Su, Shiliang & Hu, Yi’na & Luo, Fanghan & Mai, Gengchen & Wang, Yaping, 2014. "Farmland fragmentation due to anthropogenic activity in rapidly developing region," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 87-93.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:103:y:2010:i:9:p:609-620. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.