Wetland Change Assessment for Sustainable Ecosystem Services: Amathole District Municipality, South Africa

Ahmed Mukalazi Kalumbaa, Lwandile Ndukua and Gbenga Abayomi Afuyea, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


Despite the numerous vital benefits of wetlands especially in the earth's ecosystem functioning and services sustainability, these continue to experience both natural and human threats to degradation. Such pressures could compromise multiple ecosystem services and affect communities' livelihood formations. Therefore, constant wetland monitoring is vital to ensure biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and livelihood support among others. To this end, this study evaluated remote sensing indices to monitor wetland changes for three decades (1991 - 2021) in Xilinxa Amathole District Municipality using Landsat imagery. The acquired Landsat imageries were Thematic Mapper (TM) images for 1991, Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) for 2001, 2011 and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) for 2021 from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The results showed substantial wetland loss during the period of the study with a modified normalized difference water index (MNDWI). Moreover, the wetland area also shrunk from 2,3445 𝑘𝑚2 to 0,6984 𝑘𝑚2 during the study period. Based on these results, it is fundamental to adopt a pragmatic approach to conserve, restore and manage wetlands across the municipality and beyond to ensure sustainable ecosystem services and development.

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