Wetlands are one of the most valuable ecosystems in the world, however, as early as the 1900s, about 50% of the world’s wetlands had already been lost. This is because the destruction of wetland was an acceptable practice globally. Hence, wetlands were have been drained, dredged, dammed, canalized, leveed, or channel alterations converted into “more useful” land uses. But as wetland areas shrunk in size, their important ecological services tended to decline. In more recent years, the recognition of the many ecological services of wetlands led advocacy groups to fight for a positive shift in people’s attitude towards wetlands as a valued resource. Therefore, using Remote Sensing and GIS techniques, multi-temporal Landsat images (1987, 1993, 2006 and 2014) trained to identify the key indicators of wetlands to reveal the spatial dynamics of wetland loss vis-à-vis land use-land cover changes in the Lower Cache River basin between 1987 and 2014. In addition, data from focus group discussion conducted with the two major local volunteer groups in the region to identify perceived causes of wetland loss and efforts of local volunteer groups in wetland management. The study is set to answer the following research questions: (a) What are the rates and trends of change in the total land area occupied by the Lower Cache River Wetlands between 1987 and 2014? (b) What are the likely causes of changes in the Lower Cache River Wetlands? (c) How are local community groups contributing to sustainable wetland management given any changes that have occurred during the study period? The results revealed the Lower Cache wetland recorded a net loss of about 479.7 acres from 1987 to 2014. Wetlands land area were lost to mostly bare wet soil and agriculture land covers. The perceived causes of the loss include climate change, impoundment of river channel, flooding and increased sedimentation in the basin. However, local community groups play vital roles in wetland protection in the Lower Cache through activities such as fund raising, volunteering, distribution of free publications, creating public awareness, sponsoring events at the wetland center, among others. Although a loss of wetlands was recorded, the study showed a declining rate of wetland loss from 1987 through 2014. This revealed the impact of the wetland restoration programs such as the reforestation of native species currently going on in study area. But to achieve the "no-net-loss” of wetland policy goal, there is a need for all stakeholder to cooperate and coordinate their activities together in the Lower Cache River basin.
|Commitee:||Hu, Shunfu, Martinez, Adriana|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 56/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental management, Remote sensing|
|Keywords:||Cache River, Illinois, Landsat, Wetlands|
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