Multi-Decadal Spatial and Temporal Forest Cover Change Analysis of Nkandla Natural Reserve, South Africa.
The research was conducted on the premise that natural forest contributes to the provision of ecosystem services, but they are dwindling at an alarming rate. Periodic monitoring is needed to provide information on the status of the forest to assist in management planning. This research, therefore, presents a spatiotemporal change detection analysis of the Nkandla Forest reserve in South Africa. The research looks into the decadal changes that took place between 1989 and 2019. Four forest cover types which are closed canopy, open canopy, grasslands and bare sites were mapped and assessed. There were consistent gains and losses among each of the cover types at each decade with the prominent changes occurring between the closed and open canopy forest. These changes were as a result of ecological and chronic anthropogenic factors. The prediction of the future forest cover distribution was done for 2029 and 2039. The prediction shows a decline in the closed-canopy forest, a moderate increase in the grassland and a marginal increse in the open canopy forest.