Wetland Cover Changes In Yenagoa Metropolis, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
Wetland cover in the Yenagoa Metropolis was assessed through aerial maps for 1987, 2002 and 2015 to determine their areal extent, trend and rate of changes. All the images which had a spatial resolution of 30m were subjected to standard operations. Five land use and land cover classes were identified for the study. Results from the study showed that the dense forest was disappearing as the sparse forest was increasing indicating the impact of human activities on the dense forest. It also revealed that the wetlands were disappearing from an initial 25,266.42 ha in 1987 to 16,820.48ha in 2002 and 8,930.34ha by 2015 as the built – up areas increased from 2,911.27ha in 1987 to 6,242.14ha by 2002 and 10,714.72ha by 2015 (r = -0.93). The annual change rate for the disappearing wetlands ranged from -3.01% between 1987 and 2002 to -3.98% between 2002 and 2015. It was concluded that about 64.66% of the wetlands in the Yenagoa Metropolis have been lost between 1987 and 2015 and that except something drastic is done to curb the current trend, all the wetlands may be completed lost within the next 30 years. The implications of the continuous loss of wetlands to ecosystem services have been highlighted.