SALTWATER – FRESHWATER WETLAND ECOSYSTEM AND URBAN LAND USE CHANGE IN PORT HARCOURT METROPOLIS, NIGERIA
Journal: Earth Science Malaysia (ESMY)
Author: Wali, E, Phil-Eze, P.O, Nwankwoala, H.O
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Urban development in wetland ecosystems for human settlement, transport networks, exploration /exploitation of natural resources, agriculture and industrial development is one of the biggest menace to wetland change and management. To estimate future urban expansion is very crucial for urban planners and environmental managers in fastest growing cities. This study aims to examine the saltwater/freshwater ecosystem and urban land use change in Port Harcourt metropolis, Nigeria. Sources of data for this study were acquired from a time series of landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) with Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) images were used to derive land use and land cover maps of the Port-Harcourt metropolis. This study revealed that both freshwater wetland and saltwater wetlands ecosystem occupied 46.99% (18837.1 Ha) of the total classes. This may be the result of wetland being in an undisturbed nature without any conversion or alteration for use. The urban land use change of Port-Harcourt metropolis had changed dramatically during the period of 29 years. The two wetlands (saltwater and freshwater wetland) sum up to a total of 40% (16497.5 Ha) which indicates that there is pressure on wetland use such as plant products harvested from fuel wood, human settlement, urban agriculture, sand dredging, sanitation, water pollution and industrial activities from oil companies within the metropolis. Efforts should be made to increase knowledge, sensitization, consultation, stakeholder’s participation and awareness on the wetlands values and wise use economy through dissemination of information, using appropriate techniques and training of adequate staff as well as the need for sound wetland policies, laws and legislation for sustainable use, management and control in conservation of wetland.