URBANIZATION AND LOSS OF WETLAND IN PORT-HARCOURT METROPOLIS, NIGERIA
Urban development in wetland ecosystems for human settlement, agriculture and industrial development is one of the biggest threats to wetland conversion and management. Prediction of future urban expansion is very useful for urban planners and environmental managers in rapidly growing cities. This study aims to examine urbanization and loss of wetland in Port-Harcourt metropolis, using remote sensing techniques. The study analyzes land use /land cover changes (LULC) using landsat5 TM and landsat7 ETM images of 1984,1999, 2003 and 2013.Through this study, the pattern of urban expansion for the next 29 years has been studied and changes in the distant future (30 years from now) have also been predicted. The satellite images covering the area were acquired and analyzed using ArcGIS10.0, ERDAS IMAGE 2014 and IDRISI Selva. A total area of 40066.59 hectares was delineated in the study area which is identified as area with potential for expansion. After processing the imagery, five land use/land cover LULC classes where developed in ERDAS environment, such as salt water wetland, freshw.ater wetland, fallow land, built-up areas and water bodies. Accuracy assessment using kappa statistics shows that overall accuracy assessment as of 1984 was 90.00% (0.85 kappa coefficient), in 1999 it was 88.00% (0.8337 kappa coefficient), in 2003 it was 100% (1.0000 kappa statistics) and in 2013 it was 100% (1.0000 kappa coefficient). The study concluded that there is need for wise use of wetland resources and improvement of institutional arrangement so that wetland policies can be fully integrated into the planning process across all disciplines.