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Land cover dynamics in Wa Municipality, Upper West Region of Ghana

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Author(s): M.S. Aduah | R. Aabeyir

Journal: Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences
ISSN 2041-0484

Volume: 4;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 658;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: GIS | land cover | landsat | remote sensing | Wa

ABSTRACT
Land cover change is pervasive in urban areas and can destabilise the ecosystem with negative consequences. To manage land effectively and to protect its cover, there is the need for a reliable inventory. GIS and remote sensing technology has become a standard in producing land cover maps worldwide. Therefore, in this study GIS and remote sensing was used to map the land cover of Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region of Ghana. Two Landsat 5 images of 1986 and 2011 were used. The images were pre-processed, subset to the study area and classified using the maximum likelihood classification algorithm. The map accuracies for the classes of interest; built-up, bare land and vegetation were not less than 70%. The land cover maps generated indicated that built-up area has increased by 34% whiles total size of bare land has increased by 47% from 1986 to 2011.These increases have reduced the total area of vegetated land by 10%. Therefore, if the current rate of degradation is not controlled, biodiversity of Wa and its surrounding areas would be lost in the near future. Also the degradation can intensify floods and droughts and other effects of climate change. The current study has demonstrated the effectiveness of GIS and remote sensing in studying environmental changes taking place in semi-arid regions. The application of remote sensing technologies should be intensified especially in the developing world to continue to provide vital data needed to manage the environment in a sustainable manner.
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