USING REMOTE SENSING AND GIS TECHNIQUES TO DETECT CHANGES TO THE PRINCE ALFRED HAMLET CONSERVATION AREA IN THE WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
- 1Dept. Rural Development and Land Reform, National Geospatial Information, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2WWF-SA, Cape Town, South Africa
Keywords: Change Detection, Remote Sensing, Biodiversity, Wetland, Conservation
Abstract. Understanding and identifying the spatial-temporal changes in the natural environment is crucial for monitoring and evaluating conservation efforts, as well as understanding the impact of human activities on natural resources, informing responsible land management, and promoting better decision-making. Conservation areas are often under pressure from expanding farming and related industry, invasive alien vegetation, and an ever-increasing human settlement footprint. This study focuses on detecting changes to the Prince Alfred Hamlet commonage, near Ceres in the Cape Floral Kingdom. It was chosen for its high conservation value and significance as a critical water source area. The study area includes a fast-growing human settlement footprint in a highly productive farming landscape. There are conflicting development needs as well as risks to agricultural production, and both of these threaten the integrity of the ecosystems which supply underlying services to both demands on the land. Using a multi-disciplinary approach and high-resolution satellite imagery, land use and land cover changes can be detected and classified, and the results used to support the conservation of biodiversity and wildlife, and protect our natural resources. The aim of this research is to study the efficacy of using remote sensing and GIS techniques to detect changes to critical conservation areas where disturbances can be understood, and therefore better managed and mitigated before these areas are degraded beyond repair.