Use of GIS and remote sensing techniques to evaluate the wetland degradation in the Wami Ruvu River Basin

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Wetlands are crucial ecosystems that provide numerous ecological services, including water purification, flood control, and habitat for diverse plant and animal species. During the last decade, around 50% of the earth’s wetlands have already been converted to industrial, agricultural and residential use and these lands continue to disappear at a shocking rate without their values being understood. Wami Ruvu river basin in Tanzania is rich in wetlands, a total of 2482 km2 of the area is covered by wetlands both floods plain, marsh and swamp. Little information on wetland degradation on extent, condition, trend and drivers on wetland degradation is available Wami Ruvu river basin. However, the aim of the study was to assess Historical wetland degradation and prediction of future Wami-Ruvu Basin wetland change pattern. Multi-temporal Landsat satellite data including thematic Mapper Landsat (TM and ETM+) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) images were used for land use/cover (LULC) mapping in the assessment of wetland degradation and their distribution pattern based on the LULC by the years 2000, 2010 and 2020. A Random Forest Classification (RFC) approach was employed to classify the Landsat images into different land use/cover classes which included wetlands, water bodies, agriculture, urban areas, bush lands, bare lands, woodlands, and forest. The future wetland map of the study area was developed using hybrid CA- Markov in Land Cover modeler. The study observed the trend based on the spatial dynamics during the two decades Which showed a progressive decrease in the collection of wetlands coverage throughout the region, although the degradation rate varies in time coverage area as it was found to be about 1209.0753Km2, 949Km2, 521.33Km2 and 213Km2 of wetland was lost, for the year 2000, 2010, 2020 and 2050 for the individual pixel values respectively. On the other hand, the studies revealed that -34.41Km2/y of wetlands potentially are degraded annually due to human and natural stressors in 20 years of our study. Thus this gradual decrease in wetland area is contributed mainly by the increase of human activities within and surrounding the wetland boundaries which is well observed in classified land use/cover images with kappa statistics above 75%. The results of this study will contribute to a better understanding of wetland degradation in the Wami-Ruvu River Basin and facilitate informed decision-making for wetland conservation and restoration efforts. The findings will help identify priority areas for targeted interventions and provide a baseline for monitoring future changes in wetland condition and trend to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.


MSc Dissertation


Remote Sensing Techniques, Evaluate-Wetland Degradation, GIS