WETLAND CHANGE DETECTION IN PROTECTED AND UNPROTECTED INDUS COASTAL AND INLAND DELTA
- 1Institute of Geo-Information and Earth Observation, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
- 2Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
- 3State Oceanographic Institute of Russia, Moscow 119034, Russia
Keywords: Wetlands, Ramsar, Remote Sensing, Change Detection, classification, protected, degradation
Abstract. Worth of wetland sites lies in their ecological importance. They enhance ecosystem via provision of ecological services like improving water quality, groundwater infiltration, flood risk reduction and biodiversity regulation. Like other parts of the world Pakistan is also facing wetlands degradation. Ecological and economic significance of wetlands was recognized officially in 1971 as Pakistan became signatory of Ramsar wetland convention. Wetlands provide habitat to species of ecological and economic importance. Despite being recognized for international importance, Ramsar figures state that almost half of Pakistan’s wetlands are at moderate or prominent level threat. Wetlands ecosystems are deteriorating at a rapid rate, if uncontrolled this trend may lead to substantial losses. Therefore, management of these resources demands regular monitoring. Present study is dedicated to assessing levels of change overtime in three distinct types of wetlands in Pakistan i.e. Indus delta a coastal wetland, Uchhali complex an inland wetland which are both protected sites while another site Nurri Lagoon which is not sheltered under any category of protected areas. Remotely sensed data has remarkable applications in change detection. Multitemporal Landsat images were used to map changes occurring from 2006 to 2016. Results reveal that wetland area has considerably decreased for all types. Both protected sites have experienced degradation though impact is comparatively lesser than unprotected Nurri lagoon. Significance of protection strategies cannot be denied, it is recommended that mere declaration of a site protected area is not sufficient. It is equally important to control non-point pollutants and ensuring the compliance of conservation strategy.